Tips For Leaving Rehab After Spinal Cord Injury

Curated by
Brittany Déjean
Content via Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Curated by
Brittany Déjean

What do you do as you prepare to transition home? Many people find the inevitable departure from rehab to be extremely overwhelming. People who have already made the transition. 

Practical tips for leaving rehab and returning home

  • Stay active
  • Set goals
  • Be patient
  • For those with a power wheelchair, drive it with your non-dominant hand to leave your dominant hand available for other tasks

Be your own advocate

  • Learn as much as you can in rehab
  • Be your own advocate and speak up for yourself
  • Direct your own care

How to stay healthy

  • Know your body
  • Understand autonomic dysreflexia enough to explain it to medical professionals (but aim to avoid it all together)
  • Take care of your skin and check it everyday, if the skin is red, press on the spot to see if it blanches. If not, stay off it until it does.
  • Exercise

Taking care of your emotional needs

  • Know that going  home will be difficult, but keep positive
  • It gets easier as you adapt
  • Become a part of a social group with others in your situation so you can learn more about your new life

Typically the first 2 years after an injury are often the toughest, coming to terms with accepting a new normal, but in the words of one mentor: 

“Live your life. Don’t let the wheelchair stop the person you were before you sat in it.”

For an example of someone's transition home, check out Cody's story.

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