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Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program

Roper Rehabilitation Hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program offers a layering of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital is one of only two facilities in the state to achieve national 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. Outpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Services offer therapeutic outpatient interventions including PT, OT, SLP, and Driving Assessment. The Center for SCI, a bimonthly program, administers annual assessments and follow-up SCI care by a physician, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, social worker, counselor, recreational therapist, pharmacy, wheelchair seating specialists, and catheter representatives.

Roper Rehabilitation Hospital resides within Roper Hospital. Because of this unique location, our patients have the advantage of access to advanced medical care 24/7, including access to laboratory, diagnostic imaging, medical and pharmacy services.

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.

The team includes: a program medical director, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, speech language pathologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, dietitians, social workers, wound care specialists, respiratory therapists, and other rehabilitation specialists to achieve optimal outcomes for recovery and wellness.

  • Spinal Cord Injury medical director Dr. David Powell is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury and Brain Injury medicine.
  • Many staff members have advanced certification as Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Specialists (SCRS), Neurological Clinical Specialists (NCS), Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), and ASIA certification.
  • Currently 100% of our eligible registered nurses have obtained CRRN (Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse) certification.
  • All staff members are encouraged to obtain advanced certifications as available.

Advanced Equipment and Resources

  • Lite Gait© and Maxi-Sky© to assist with body weight supported gait for retraining of brain pathways. 
  • Additional technology available includes Bioness FES cycle system, Xcite, Sabo, SMART wheel, and Bioness systems for hand and foot retraining, each customized to develop a therapy program to meet the patient’s individual functional needs.
  • 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 and our staff provides weekly education classes for both patients and their family/friends support system. Information is provided at the level of the patient's comprehension and presented appropriate for patient's age group (adolescent, adult or geriatric).

* All services provided are based on the biological, cultural and psychosocial needs of the patient as identified on assessment. The scope and intensity of the program is individualized and progresses in accordance with the patient's needs.

Candidate for SCI inpatient rehabilitation include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Incomplete and complete tetraplegics who are not ventilator-dependent
  • Incomplete and complete paraplegics
  • Spinal cord dysfunction caused by trauma, cancer or inflammatory conditions including ALS, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, and polyneuropathy


Roper Rehabilitation Hospital is actively involved in the broader spinal cord injury community. Our staff assist with many adaptive sport events such as Adaptive Watersports Expo, wheelchair road racing, tennis, and more. Our inpatients with spinal cord injury participate in weekly community outings as a part of Recreational Therapy treatment plan.

Mentoring support and a peer mentoring program provides ongoing training for patients and their support system with both inpatient and outpatient programs. Peer mentors may attend outing as available.

2019 Inpatient Statistics

  • Average length of stay on the unit is 17 days.
  • 82% of our spinal cord injury patients return to their home versus another level of care.
  • 89 patients with a diagnosis of spinal cord injury were cared for in our program.
  • 77% of patients surveyed rated their quality of care as excellent to very good.
  • Patients received an average of 4 hours of therapy 5 days per week.
  • 88% of patients rated satisfaction with goal attainment as very satisfied to satisfied.
  • 5.6% of our patients had unplanned transfers to acute medical facilities.

2019 Outpatient Statistics

  • 96 additional patients with a diagnosis of spinal cord injury were seen for intensive outpatient therapy.
  • 8 patients returned to work or a vocational program.
  • Two of our 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 14.39 visits.
  • Patients with a diagnosis of tetraplegia received an average of 15.89 visits.
  • 100% of patients rated satisfaction with goal attainment as very satisfied.

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:

Kim Aquino, CTRS
Spinal Cord Injury Coordinator for Roper Rehabilitation Hospital
(843) 724-2811

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