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Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program

Roper Rehabilitation Hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program provides skills to individuals and families for recovery both physically and psychologically, working towards self-care goals for independence at all levels of injury. Spinal cord injury or dysfunction through trauma (paraplegia, incomplete or complete, and tetraplegia, incomplete or complete not ventilator dependent), cancer or inflammatory conditions including ALS, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy or polyneuropathy are treated by our specialty program.

african american in wheelchair

Our programs

The Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital is one of only two facilities in the state to achieve national Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation for the Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program. Integrated outpatient services provide a continuum of care through Roper Hospital's outpatient rehabilitation therapy services and the one-of-a-kind Center for Spinal Cord Injury.

Roper Rehabilitation Hospital is part of the Roper St. Francis Healthcare continuum of care that includes outpatient rehabilitation, home health and hospice and its unique location inside Roper Hospital provides the Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program patients the advantage of access to advanced medical care 24/7.


Experienced staff

Our highly skilled interdisciplinary team provides a wide scope of services, expert care and experience with spinal cord injury population. Their proven knowledge and clinical skills help the patient, family and significant others adjust to the profound impact of disability surrounding an injury. Many of our staff serve on local and national committees and provide educational presentations for the advancement of spinal cord injury education and care. Our interdisciplinary team members have specialized training, including:

  • The medical director for the Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program, Dr. David Powell, is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, spinal cord injury and brain injury medicine.
  • Neurological clinical specialists (NCS)
  • Assistive technology professional (ATP) and ASIA certification
  • Certified rehabilitation registered nurse (CRRN)

Advanced equipment and resources

  • Lite Gait© and Maxi-Sky© to assist with body weight supported gait for retraining of brain pathways.
  • FES cycle system
  • Bioness systems for hand and foot retraining, each customized to develop a therapy program to meet the patient’s individual functional needs.
  • Xcite
  • Sabo
  • SMART wheel
  • Dedicated gym area with specialized equipment for spinal cord injury.
  • Inpatient and outpatient seating clinic to meet specialized needs for custom manual and power wheelchairs. Pressure mapping available for appropriate cushion assessment.
  • Each patient receives a detailed spinal cord injury handbook.
  • Weekly education classes are offered for both patients and their family/caregiver support system.
  • Mentoring support and a peer mentoring program provides ongoing training for patients and their support system with both inpatient and outpatient programs.
  • The Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program is actively involved in the broader spinal cord injury community. Our staff assists with many adaptive sport and spinal cord injury awareness events.
  • Community reintegration outings.
  • Referrals for continued care in the community-local and regional resources.
  • Collaboration with:
    • Charleston County Parks and Recreation (CCPRC)
    • Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN)
    • Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
    • South Carolina Spinal Cord Association (SCSCIA)

Contact information

If you have had a spinal cord injury or are a caregiver and would like to know more about our programs and/or interested in becoming a peer mentor, please contact:

Inpatient Program
Kim Aquino, CTRS
Spinal Cord Injury Coordinator for Roper Rehabilitation Hospital
Kim.aquino@rsfh.com
(843) 724-2811

Outpatient Program
Emma Chambers, OTR/L, CCDT
Manager of Rehabilitation Services at Roper Hospital
Emma.Chambers@rsfh.com
(843) 724-2760

Program outcomes

2020 Inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program Demographics and Outcomes

  • 99 patients with a diagnosis of spinal cord injury were cared for in our program.
  • The average age of our patients treated following a spinal cord injury was 56. No adolescent patients treated.
  • Ratio of male to female: 63 male 36 female
  • The average length of stay for our patients with a diagnosis of spinal cord injury was 17.8 days.
  • 83% of our spinal cord injury patients return to the community versus another level of care.
  • 10.1% of our patients were discharged to Skilled Nursing Facility as compared to 10.2% for the Region.
  • 94% of patients with a spinal cord injury rated their quality of care as excellent to very good.
  • 94% of patients with a spinal cord injury rated they were very satisfied to satisfied with their goal attainment.
  • 6.1% of our patients had unplanned transfers to acute medical facilities. Our rate is lower when compared to the Region which was 12.7%.
  • Patients with a diagnosis of spinal cord injury received an average of over 4 hours of therapy 5 days per week.

2020 Outpatient Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program Demographics and Outcomes

  • 93 additional patients with a diagnosis of spinal cord injury were seen for intensive outpatient therapy.
  • 14 patients returned to work or a vocational program.
  • 9 patients returned to school.
  • 100% of patients surveyed rated their quality of care as excellent.
  • Patients received an average of 1-2 hours of therapy 3-4 times per week.
  • Patients with a diagnosis of paraplegia received an average of 17.9 PT visits & 16.2 OT visits.
  • Patients with a diagnosis of tetraplegia received an average of 19.3 PT visits & 16.3 OT visits.
  • 100% of patients rated satisfaction with goal attainment as very satisfied.
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