The Spinal Cord Injury Center team helps you prepare for life after a spinal cord injury or a spinal cord dysfunction. The team guides you and your family through the rehabilitation process. Our goal? Promote recovery and maximize independence. From the moment you are admitted to the hospital, our team helps you set your rehabilitation goals and devise an individual plan of care just for you. 

We will work with you to develop a rehabilitation program that includes both inpatient and outpatient components tailored to your individual needs. The goal is to get you home safely, even if you are functioning at a different level than before your injury or illness. We will work with you to maximize your independence with mobility, everyday sills such as dressing and bathing, and to 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. 

Meeting Your Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Goals

The team will meet to discuss your progress, identify challenges to going home, find ways to remove as many barriers as possible and discuss length of stay. Your length of stay depends on:

  • Medical stability
  • Progress made towards rehabilitation goals
  • Insurance provider and benefits

Positive Rehabilitation Outcomes and Results

In 2021:

  • 141 patients with Spinal Cord Injury were treated in our inpatient rehabilitation program.
  • The average length of stay was 15.5 days.
  • Upon release, 85.8% returned home, while the remaining patients went to a subacute or skilled nursing facility.
  • 83.1% of patients are able to perform self-care skills independently after discharge.
  • Patient satisfaction with the program is 3.68 out of 4.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility for Spinal Cord Injuries

Our inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) at Froedtert Hospital is one of the few of its kind in Wisconsin. It provides intensive rehab services in a hospital environment. Admission to an IRF is appropriate for patients with complex nursing, medical management and rehabilitative needs. 

At the time of admission to the IRF, the patient must:

  • Have a functional neurological deficit related to spinal cord injury or dysfunction.
  • Require active and ongoing therapy in multiple areas — physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech/language pathology (SLP) or prosthetics/orthotics, at least one of which must be PT or OT.
  • Require an intensive rehabilitation therapy program, generally consisting of three hours of therapy per day at least five days per week, or in certain well-documented cases, at least 15 hours of intensive rehabilitation therapy within a seven-consecutive-day period, beginning with the date of admission.
  • Reasonably be expected to actively participate in, and benefit significantly from, the intensive rehabilitation therapy program. (The patient’s condition and functional status are such that the patient can reasonably be expected to make measurable improvement within a prescribed period of time. As a result of the intensive rehabilitation therapy program, the patient’s functional capacity or adaptation to impairments will improve.)
  • Require physician supervision by a rehabilitation physician, with face-to-face visits at least three days per week to assess the patient both medically and functionally and to modify the course of treatment as needed.
  • Require an intensive and coordinated interdisciplinary team approach to the delivery of rehabilitative care.

Download the Inpatient Rehabilitation Program brochure.

Care Team

Our interdisciplinary team approach promotes frequent, structured, and documented communication to establish, prioritize, and achieve your treatment goals. The team typically includes the following members.

  • A physiatrist (rehabilitation physician) with specialized training and experience in rehabilitation services 
  • A registered nurse with specialized training or experience in rehabilitation 
  • A social worker and a case manager to assist with coordination of the discharge process 
  • A physical therapist (PT) to optimize your mobility, strength and endurance 
  • An occupational therapist (OT) to develop skills to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) (i.e. bathing, dressing, eating) 
  • A speech/language pathologist (SLP) to work on your language, cognition, communication and swallowing, if needed 
  • A recreational therapist (RT) to help you relearn and adapt your skills to pursue leisure activities and hobbies 
  • A psychologist to help you with adjustment and coping skills for your emotional well-being 
  • Other possible team members: dietician, respiratory therapist, vocational rehabilitation counselor, pharmacist and chaplain

Virtual Visits Are Available

Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We'll assess your condition and develop a treatment plan right away. To schedule a virtual visit, call 414-777-7700.

Learn More