Spinal Cord Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation

Neuro Intensive Care and Acute Care Units

The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Neuro Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Acute Care Units are available to serve patients with different types of neurological injuries, including spinal cord injuries. The Neuro ICU is equipped with state-of-the-science monitoring equipment and is staffed by a skilled and experienced team of physicians and nurses.

Experts from other disciplines are readily available for consultation, further enhancing the recovery process and promoting a faster return to the community. While they are in the ICU, patients and their families meet and begin working with the rehabilitation team, including the rehabilitation physician and therapists as well as a case manager, social worker and psychologists. Patients continue to work with the same team throughout their hospital stay and after discharge.

Rehabilitation Program

The rehabilitation program includes both inpatient and outpatient components and is tailored to patients' individual needs. While in the hospital, patients meet each week with the entire treatment team to discuss their progress and their discharge goals. They work intensively with nurses and physical and occupational therapists to improve strength and wheelchair mobility, relearn everyday skills such as dressing and bathing, and learn to use adaptive equipment.

In addition, a vocational counselor helps patients prepare to return to work or school and performs on-site worksite evaluations. Finally, the program's recreational therapist helps patients develop effective strategies for adapting to spinal cord injury, making it easier for them to re-enter the community. In 2013: 

  • 117 patients with SCI were treated in our inpatient rehabilitation program.
  • The average length of stay was 22.2 days.
  • Upon release, 71 percent returned home, while the remaining patients went to a subacute or skilled nursing facility.
  • There were 1,176 outpatient visits (259 new patients).
  • On average, patients had six physical therapy, five occupational therapy and 17 speech therapy appointments.

New Frontiers and Treatments

The Spinal Cord Injury Center is at the forefront of new treatments and methodologies for the care and treatment of individuals with spinal cord injury. Our team of physicians lead the way in the development of new diagnostic technologies which will better define spinal cord injury. This improved imaging will provide physicians a mechanism to predict function and will guide individual treatment options. The Spinal Cord Injury Center also participates in current national clinical trials.

Spinal Cord Injury Preceptor Program

Several times a year, the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Spinal Cord Injury Program offers a free, one-day Spinal Cord Injury Preceptor Program for EMS workers, emergency room nurses and medical staff from the community, to enhance their knowledge of how people with spinal cord injuries are cared for after the initial emergency.

The program includes: Lectures and discussions with program physicians, nurses and therapists, providing information on spinal cord injury research and treatment at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and other aspects of the Spinal Cord Injury Program, surgical observation and one-on-one interaction with a person who has sustained a spinal cord injury.

Spinal Cord Injury Discussion and Support Group

This support group is for people and families affected by spinal cord injuries and/or dysfunction. Visit our calendar of events for more information.

Every Tuesday evening

6 - 7:30 p.m.

Froedtert Hospital,
Multi-purpose Rm 5228 (FW 5th FL)