Process of Care

Acute

Once a patient has been accepted the nursing and medical team will make the appropriate preparations for the patient’s arrival. Occasionally patients will need to be admitted to the intensive care unit prior to admittance to the spinal cord injury unit, depending on level of injury.

Upon admission the team will carry out a full assessment to establish current neurology level.  The consultant will discuss with the patient and their family what treatment the patient will have and their prognosis.

If high dependency unit (HDU) or intensive care unit (ITU) is required, it maybe necessary to stabilise the patient’s condition by using various lines to monitor arterial blood pressure, ECGs, infusions of medication or occasionally nasal gastric feeding.  Patients may require the use of a ventilator (NIPPY) through either a mask or tracheotomy.

Within HDU the patient will be actively involved with their own weaning off the ventilator so they are part of every aspect of their care. Patients will be supported and cared for by specialist trained ventilation nurses and ITU consultant who will be with patients continuously throughout their acute phase in hospital.

Rehabilitation

After a spinal cord injury the patient will begin the process of rehabilitation.  During this phase patients will learn a lot of new skills and methods of managing their care, including bladder, bowel, skin care and reintegration into the community.  Patients will participate in a rehabilitation programme and goals will be established by the patient and the team.

Reintegration into the community

Discharge and reintegration into the community will begin shortly after a patient is admitted.  Staff in the spinal cord injury centre will work closely with community staff to coordinate patient discharges and also offer assistance after discharge.