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Rehabilitation that starts early might help spinal cord injuries

After a spinal cord injury, many patients need rehabilitation. A new study that was presented to the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting shows that patients who start rehabilitation soon after the injury often fare better than those who wait to start rehabilitation.

The report shows that the patients who started rehab earlier had a better functional outcome than those who waited to start rehab. This improvement was noted at the time of discharge, as well as during the subsequent year.

One factor that can affect the start of the rehab is the length of stay at the acute-care facility. Patients who stay at the acute-care facility longer might start rehab later, which means that they might actually fare worse because of the delay. Still, those patients are likely to need the stay in the acute-care facility.

It is possible that this delay could be abated if the acute-care facility offers rehab to patients during their stay. When that isn't possible, patients should begin an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program as soon as possible. Of course, the patient must be clinically ready to begin the process or it can do more harm than good.

It is crucial for all spinal cord injury patients to work with their medical care team to set goals and expectations for rehabilitation. In some cases, money might be a factor when it comes to the rehab center. Seeking compensation might be one way that you can obtain the financial backing that you need to get the care that can help you to learn to live life to fullest extent possible after the accident.

Source: News-Medical, "Early rehabilitation after traumatic spinal cord injury better for patients," Feb. 18, 2016

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