Two physical therapists in the SCI Day Program help a patient walk with a Zero gravity harness.
Medical Reviewers: Kat Cunningham, PT, DPT, NCS; Brian Higdon, MD
Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Spinal Cord Injury & Related Disorders Day Treatment program

The Spinal Cord Injury & Related Disorders Day Treatment Program (SCI/D) is an outpatient interdisciplinary rehabilitation program designed to provide intense therapy for patients who have had a spinal cord injury (SCI) or similar neurologic disorders.

 

SCI/D Program Overview

The SCI/D Day Program treats people with spinal cord injury and other disorders, such as:

  • Traumatic and non-traumatic injuries to the spinal cord (includes injuries related to accidents, surgical interventions, infections, spinal pathology)
  • Autoimmune disorders (including Guillain-Barré Syndrome or Transverse Myelitis)
  • Critical illness polyneuropathies and polymyopathies
  • Multiple Sclerosis

The program is overseen by a medical director. The interdisciplinary team includes a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, psychologist and a nurse case manager, all with specialized training in spinal cord injuries. The SCI/D program focuses on managing ongoing medical needs with special attention towards home and community reintegration.

Patients in the program will participate in half- or full-day treatment for a maximum of five hours a day, five days a week, for an average of 6-12 weeks.

Once enrolled, patients are evaluated and given a personalized treatment plan which can include one-on-one therapy sessions, group-based interventions and classes, education and specialized services to best address each patients’ individual goals and needs.

Patients can be referred to the program in a variety of ways:

  • Inpatient rehabilitation hospital
  • Outpatient therapist
  • Primary care physician
  • Home health agency
  • Case manager

How to Reach Us

Phone: (904) 345-7506
Fax: (904) 345-6837

Email: [email protected]
Address: 3901 University Blvd S, Jacksonville, FL, 32216

What to Expect from the Program

Daily exercises and therapeutic activities will promote neuromuscular recovery, independence in activities of daily living and pursuit of optimal health and well-being. Therapy is not just constricted to the gym. Regular community outings, driving evaluations/training, and vocational rehabilitation/school re-entry services all help you adjust to this new way of life.

Activities with the Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation department and community outings to places like the airport, local restaurants, malls, and grocery stores are frequently included in the day program.

Your therapy team and physician will be regularly discussing your outcomes, achievements and barriers. This allows the team to stay on top of medication management, new or ongoing health concerns, need for spasticity management, splinting and bracing, mobility and seating management, or any other needs that may arise.

Our Approach

We recognize that every individual is unique. Your treatment plan will be tailored to your needs and goals. Your specialized and experienced interdisciplinary team will use evidence-based practice and state of the art technology to help you maximize your potential.

There is a lot to learn after experiencing a spinal cord injury or other neurologic disorder, and being equipped with knowledge will empower you. Your team will ensure that you and your caregivers are provided with the right education, training and tools to stay healthy and happy.

Returning Home

Discharge planning starts on day one. While you are participating in the program, you and your caregivers will have the opportunity to meet with your team to help identify your specific needs or barriers to returning home. Caregiver training and education is highly recommended and encouraged, and various training activities will be completed in the clinic as well as out in the community to ensure you are best prepared to return home.

Your team will help you determine the appropriate durable medical equipment, orthotics or braces, and home/car modifications to help you achieve your highest level of safety and independence. Vocational Rehab can also be coordinated if you may need modifications at your current job or need to pursue a different line of work due to your neurologic condition or SCI.

Paying for the SCI Program

Brooks understands that most insurance benefits offer very little therapy coverage, especially not enough for people to recover from a major neurologic injury.

Brooks has coveted per diem contracts with most major insurance companies and worker’s compensation companies. These contracts are a separate benefit from your hospital or outpatient coverage and allow you to spread out your therapy program over a longer period of time, thus further maximizing your potential.

For those individuals who do not have this insurance coverage, you are welcome to apply for financial assistance and your need will be based on your financial status. For Florida residents who have had a traumatic injury, funding may be possible through Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program (BSCIP).

Housing

Brooks serves patients from all over the United States and throughout the world. Being away from home is difficult and recovery is easier when you have a good support system and are living in a comfortable environment. For patients living outside the five Jacksonville counties, there is an opportunity to lodge at Helen’s House. Helen’s House is located across the street from the SCI/D program, and offers transportation via a wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus for you and your caregivers to get to and from the program.

Why Choose Brooks?

Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital has been one of the leaders in rehabilitation for 50 years and is accredited by the Joint Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehab Facilities (CARF). This specialty recognition includes our in-patient SCI program.

Over the years, Brooks has developed an extensive continuum of care that allows patients to seamlessly transition from inpatient rehab, day program, outpatient therapy, adaptive sports and recreation, community wellness, research, vocational rehab, driving evaluations and training and follow-up with our physician practice. Brooks guarantees that whoever you meet along the way, they are an experienced passionate professional with one job in mind, helping you become the best you can be.

In the SCI/D program, your team will perform various outcome assessments that will track your progress and help you to identify goals and areas to address within the program. These measures will encompass a wide variety of different areas including independence with functional mobility, transfers, activities of daily living, ability to walk, wheelchair skills, balance, strength, and many others.

Our Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Technology

Brooks prides itself on using the most up to date technology to help facilitate neurorecovery and maximize your progress. In the SCI/D program, your treatment sessions may include:

Our SCI Program Scorecard Data

Demographic Information – Population Served

 

 

Demographic information for Brooks SCI Day Treatment Program. Includes gender information, spinal cord injury levels served and ASIA scores.

 

 

Functional Improvement as Measured by the Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM)

 

 

 

Functional improvement scores for patients in the SCI Day Program at Brooks visualized in bar graphs.

 

 

 

Medical Reviewers

Kat Cunningham, PT, DPT, NCS

Center Manager, Brooks Rehabilitation Spinal Cord Injury and Related Disorders Program
Kathryn Cunningham has been practicing physical therapy at Brooks since 2005. She was integral in launching the Neuro Recovery Center and SCI/D Day Program at Brooks Rehabilitation. She currently manages all operations for the SCI/D Day Program, including marketing, community outreach and neurological program development, as well as treats in both the Brain Injury Day Program and SCI Day Program. Cunningham holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and a doctorate degree in physical therapy from the University of Delaware, Newark, Del. She then completed the Brooks/UNF Neurological Residency Program in Jacksonville, Fla., and became a board certified neurological clinical specialist.

Brian Higdon, MD

Medical Director of Brooks Rehabilitation Spinal Cord Injury Program & Spinal Cord Injury-Disorders Day Treatment Program
Dr. Higdon completed his BA in Liberal Studies at Florida College and his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at the University of South Florida and completed a fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Higdon is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and board certified in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. He attends for spinal cord injury patients at the Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital – University Campus and has developed new programs for neurogenic bladder management, including urodynamic studies, as well as spasticity management for spinal cord injured patients.
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