The Miami VA Healthcare System’s Spinal Cord System of care is a medical specialty concerned with evaluating, diagnosing and treating patients with limited function as a consequence of disease, injury or impairment due to a spinal cord disorder. Emphasis is placed on maximal restoration of the physical, psychological, social and vocational functions of the persons. Further emphasis is placed on the maintenance of the person’s health, prevention of secondary complications, activity limitations and the alleviation of pain. The SCI unit also cares for Veterans with non-traumatic spinal problems such as MS and spinal infections resulting in paraplegia or tetraplegia.
Our program provides a continuum of care consisting of both comprehensive rehabilitation services and sustaining medical care. The core interdisciplinary treatment team consists of an SCI staff physician (specialties: Physiatrist, Wound Care, Neurology and Internal Medicine), Psychology, Nursing, Therapy (Kinesio, Occupational, Physical and Recreation), Nutrition, Social Work and Pharmacy. We are further supported by nurse practitioners, licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, physician assistants and administration.
Multidisciplinary support is obtained on a consultative basis from a broad array of services, but most frequently includes, Urology, Plastic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Infectious Disease, Respiratory Therapy and Vocational Rehabilitation.
The Miami Spinal Cord System of Care also serves as a Spokes and Hub Site to advise and assist the West Palm VA Medical Center with provision of SCI care.
The mission of the Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder (SCI/D) Service at the Bruce W. Carter Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center is to provide a comprehensive lifelong system of care for Veterans with SCI or SCD and to incorporate research and education into their care as appropriate to ensure that their care is state of the art.
We will be a center of excellence for SCI care in the VA system demonstrating an interrelationship between the rehabilitation-community integration-medical care and long term care. We will coordinate our services and resources with the University of Miami in order to maximize community resources and ensure optimal patient care and dissemination of information to our patients and staff. Further collaboration may be achieved, through research involvement, at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami School of Medicine, which is the world’s largest comprehensive SCI research center. This unique multidisciplinary team utilizes their expertise in research to find a cure for the spinal cord injury population.
The unifying philosophy of the SCI/D service is:
In turn, we expect each patient to:
Furthermore, the SCI/D interdisciplinary team will work with the patient and their family to together design a treatment plan with the goal of helping the patient return to the community.
Admission to a comprehensive rehabilitation bed:
This is based upon a documented plan, potential for improvement in function and need for therapy, as identified by SCI/D policy (128-04.) The demographics of person’s eligible for admission to our Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder Service are listed below from highest to lowest priority:
Offered ServicesSCI Inpatient Services: Our Inpatient Staff offer comprehensive and compassionate health care services through a multi-disciplinary approach. Combined with our SCI specialists, the nursing staff and therapists provide the most appropriate care of those with a spinal cord injury or disease.
Outpatient Services: Comprehensive health care continues in our outpatient clinic. Personalized attention is given to each Veteran. Treatment promotes general health care and wellness while focusing on preventing secondary health conditions and functional loss.
Outpatient Clinic: Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (appointment necessary)
SCI Therapy Services
Hospital Based Home Care: SCI/D-HC is a voluntary, post-hospital program designed to enhance the quality of life and independence of newly injured SCI Veterans as well as those Veterans already living in the community. An interdisciplinary team consisting of a doctor, nurse, social worker, dietitian and rehabilitation therapist work together with the Veteran toward achieving goals to enhance functioning in the community. Early recognition of problems and the actions taken by the team often prevent complications and lengthy hospitalizations. The SCI/D Home Care team does not take the place of a caregiver, but provides education, supervision, and support to activities, medical care and home visits as needed. This service is limited to a 100-mile radius of the SCI/D Center.Helpful Web sites: The following web sites are a small listing of the numerous web site related to spinal cord injury and disorders.
CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities): http://www.carf.org **
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA): http://www.pva.org **
Paralyzed Veterans of America Florida (PVAF): http://www.pvaf.org **
Miami Project: http://www.themiamiproject.org **
Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center: http://www.paralysis.org **
National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA): http://www.spinalcord.org **
University of Alabama at Birmingham Model SCI System: http://www.spinalcord.uab.edu **
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society: http://www.nationalmssociety.org **
The John Hopkins Hospital Department of Neurology: http://www.myelitis.org **
The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA): http://www.nfcacares.org **
For further information, please contact the Spinal Cord Injury Service at (305) 575-3174.