Inpatient Spinal Cord team: Services provided by Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology

The inpatient Spinal Cord rehabilitation team helps people who have a variety of conditions that affect spinal cord function. This may be from injury, or from medical conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, other auto-immune disorders, cancer, or developmental disorders such as spina bifida.

The team psychologist from the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology meets with every patient, and with patients' families when possible. The overall goal of the psychologist on the Spinal Cord team is to help patients make the most of their inpatient rehabilitation. For example:

  • If you came to us from an intensive care unit, you may still be recovering from some very difficult experiences; the psychologist can review those experiences with you, especially if they are causing sleep problems or continuing anxiety or depression. 
  • If you have a new spinal condition, you may have questions about the short and longer-term effects; the psychologist can help you understand the information you are given by your treatment team.
  • Inpatient rehabilitation takes place in a caring but demanding environment.  As you begin or end each day that includes nursing care, education, and therapies, you may benefit from talking over your hopes and concerns with the team psychologist. 
  • Rehabilitation means learning new information and behaviors. Many patients on the Spinal Cord team experience challenges to their concentration, memory and mood.  The psychologist helps identify and address those challenges, working with you and your treatment team to reduce barriers to learning and progress.   
  • Inpatient rehabilitation is just one phase of rehabilitation and adaptation.  The psychologist helps patients and their families talk over their personal goals and make decisions regarding the next phase. 

Inpatient Consultation & Liaison services by Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation provides services to many adult inpatients throughout University Hospital, the Cardiovascular Center, and the Adult Bone Marrow Transplant service. PM&R physicians often suggest referrals for these patients to be seen by a PM&R psychologist. PM&R psychological services include:

  • a thorough review of the patient's medical record,
  • consultative conversations with physicians, nurses and therapists involved in the patient's treatment,
  • brief assessment of psychological and neuropsychological functioning,
  • a focus on identifying barriers to patient's progress, which may include factors related to the patient or the environment,
  • education of patient and family regarding continuum of care in rehabilitation (tailored according to recommendations from the patient's treatment team),
  • follow-up services of support and monitoring
  • assistance in transition to acute inpatient rehabilitation and/or planning for outpatient psychological/neuropsychological services as needed.