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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute

  Rehabilitation services

Rehab nursing

Rehab nursing

Rehabilitation (rehab) nursing helps individuals affected by chronic illness or physical disability achieve their greatest potential, adapt to their disabilities and work toward productive, independent lives.

At Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, there are many components of the rehab nursing program for people with spinal cord injury.

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Spinal cord injury

Your spinal cord sends the messages to and from your brain and body that make it possible for you to feel and move. A spinal cord injury can cause loss of feeling, paralysis, breathing problems, and difficulty with bowel and bladder control.

Learn more about spinal cord injury and disorders.

Spinal cord injury education

A program is in place to ensure that all areas of spinal cord injury are covered. A series of videos are shown and a comprehensive manual is given to each patient.


Autonomic dysreflexia is a life-threatening emergency and must be treated immediately.

Autonomic dysreflexia is an overreaction of the nervous system caused by an irritation or other stimulus. The most common cause is a full bladder. Other causes are bowel fullness, irritation to the skin, sexual activity and infection.

Our physicians teach each patient and caregiver how to recognize autonomic dysreflexia. They also learn treatment options.

Bladder management

The purpose of the program is to eliminate urine from the body with the eventual goal of restoring continence, which gives the patient control of his or her bladder.

Physicians in the rehab nursing program are skilled in the application of various medications used to regulate the bladder. A bladder management program is designed based on each patient's needs and specific injury.

In addition to restoring continence, care team members will teach the patient about:

  • the anatomy and physiology of the urinary system
  • preventing complications like bladder infections, kidney stones and uretral reflux
  • fluid guidelines in order to prevent overdistention (expansion) of the bladder.

Nurses work with physicians to establish a catheterization program to fit each patient's bladder needs.

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Bladder infection or urinary tract infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that can happen anywhere along the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections have different names, depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected.

Learn more about urinary tract infection in our health encyclopedia.

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Kidney stones

Kidney stones can form when urine contains too much of certain substances. These substances can create small crystals that become stones.

Learn more about kidney stones in our health encyclopedia.

Bowel management

A custom bowel management program can be designed based on a patient's individual needs.

Various techniques used to achieve continence and regularity include:

  • digital stimulation
  • oral medications
  • suppositories
  • mini-enemas.

Program participants also learn how good nutrition and a high-fiber diet help maintain bowel continence and regularity.

Skin management

The best way to treat skin breakdown is to prevent it. We work with patients to establish good skin care to help them prevent hospital stays for pressure ulcer treatment and surgery.

Guidelines established by our program require the patient to:

  • do pressure relief at least every 20 to 30 minutes
  • eat foods that feed the skin, including maintaining a good diet full of protein (necessary for when a patient is sick or losing weight as the skin becomes more sensitive), vitamins and minerals
  • drink plenty of fluids within the limit of a bladder program
  • keep the skin clean and dry
  • build up skin tolerance
  • check your skin inch by inch twice a day: once before you get out of bed and again before you get back into bed
  • be kind to your feet; circulation is slower and they take longer to heal
  • stop smoking.

Care team members also work with each patient to:

  • educate patients about their spinal cord injury and ways to maintain independence through self care
  • establish proper wheelchair positioning
  • ensure that a proper mattress is used
  • avoid extreme changes in temperature
  • maintain ideal body weight
  • wear clothing and shoes that are neither too loose nor too tight
  • find ways to avoid stress.
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Pressure ulcers

A pressure ulcer or bedsore is an area of skin that breaks down when you stay in one position for too long without shifting your weight. This often happens if you use a wheelchair or you are bedridden, even for a short period of time (for example, after surgery or an injury).

Learn more about pressure ulcers in our health encyclopedia.

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Stop smoking

There are a lot of ways to quit smoking and many resources to help you. Family members, friends, and coworkers may be supportive or encouraging, but the desire and commitment to quit must be your own.

Get tips on how to quit in our health encyclopedia.

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Ideal body weight

How much should you weigh? Determine the weight range that is right for you.

Source: Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Reviewed by: Jennifer Theis, MSOTR/C, program coordinator, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute's Spinal Cord Program
First Published: 03/22/2011
Last Reviewed: 03/03/2011