After spinal cord injury, your health care team will help you learn how to live a healthy life. People from many different lines of work make up your health care team. Each one has its own specialty. It’s good to understand each profession so that you know how they can help you.
Dietician: Assesses your nutrition needs and provides diet solutions. They help you meet your diet needs based on your food choices and restrictions.
Doctor (Family Doctor): Diagnoses, treats, and provides education about health issues. Family doctors work with your physiatrist to help you manage medical aspects of spinal cord injury. They do medical assessments and prescribe medicine.
Nurse: Provides direct medical care. Nurses follow doctors’ orders to give you medicine and treatments as prescribed. They will help you with your pain, skin, and other medical needs. They also assist with and teach your bowel and bladder routines.
Occupational Therapist (OT): Assists patients in learning how to do day to day activities. They help you find the techniques and devices for bathing, dressing, and meals. They can also prescribe mobility equipment and do home assessments.
Pharmacist: Prepares and dispenses medicines. A pharmacist works with your doctor to decide which medicine best treats your conditions.
Physiatrist: Helps you prevent and manage health issues caused by spinal cord injury. They are medical specialists in rehabilitation. They diagnose and treat conditions, provide education, and prescribe medicine. Physiatrists work closely with family doctors.
Physiotherapist (PT): Helps improve your strength and skills. They help you regain your physical function, movement, and balance. They will help you learn to get around, do stairs, and transfers. They can prescribe mobility equipment and do home assessments. Physiotherapists also help treat some types of pain.
Psychologist: Provides assessment, counselling and psychotherapy. They help you and your family to adjust to the stresses of living with spinal cord injury.
Program Assistant: Handles administrative duties for the unit. The program assistant also helps you book and arrange transportation to medical appointments.
Respiratory Therapist: Helps with breathing problems and preventing chest infections. They do this by strengthening breathing muscles to prevent lung collapse.
Social Worker: Provides counseling to patients and families about resources in the community. A social worker can help you find funding, housing, and attendant care. Social workers also provide emotional counselling.
Speech and Language Therapist: Assesses and treats voice speech, language, and swallowing problems.
Spiritual Care Professional: Provides spiritual, emotional and religious support. Spiritual care professionals offer counseling and support to patients in search for meaning and hope.
Therapy Assistant: Assists therapists carry out treatment plans. Plans include exercise, stretching, and using gym equipment. They also assist you practice daily activities like dressing, grooming, eating, and drinking.
Recreational Therapist: Work with patients to identify leisure opportunities through intervention, education, and participation. They help you be independent in leisure to improve health and quality of life.