How to Choose a Rehabilitation Hospital

Choosing a rehabilitation facility for someone who has had a catastrophic spinal cord injury is one of the most important and difficult decisions you may face. As you carefully explore your alternatives and tour prospective facilities, you are encouraged to consider asking the following questions:

  • How many patients are who have injuries similar to the patient I know are treated per year?
  • How many patients are being treated right now?
  • Are patients’ ages about the same as the patient I know?
  • Is the facility a specialty center, and if so, for how long? What specialty accreditations does the facility have?
  • How many years of experience do the physicians have, on average? Staff? Staff?
  • How long have the physicians practiced at the facility? Full-time or part-time?
  • Which physicians, therapists, and other professionals will work with the patient I know?
  • Who will be the patient’s primary physician, and does he/she specialize in either spinal cord or brain injury?
  • Is air transportation available?
  • Are specialty education programs available for patients and families? What are they?
  • What is the family’s role? What are the policies regarding family visitation?
  • Is their designated low cost housing available?
  • Who will help with discharge planning before the patient comes home?
  • Are long-term follow-up services provided?
  • Are the physicians and staff currently involved with research and training?
  • What is the caseload size for the nursing, treatment, and counseling staff?

Families are encouraged to take notes when asking these questions as a way to compare programs.