A young man with a catastrophic spinal cord injury highlights the importance of providing the right level of transitional care at the right time in the right place to produce the best outcome.

A “Unique Situation”

“I have a unique situation.” This was the first thing that the Director of Care Management at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital said to SeniorBridge Operations Manager and Sales Executive Nicole Bell.

The situation referred to a patient who had fallen from 6-foot ladder. It resulted in multiple spinal cord injuries (SCI) that required several surgeries in subsequent weeks, followed by transfer to Spaulding Rehabilitation in Boston, MA, where Nicole Bell and SeniorBridge Care Supervisor Christina Hahn, RN, began to facilitate his transition from hospital to home.

“We assessed everything. We moved in a Hoyer lift and made sure the whole apartment was wheelchair-accessible to key areas such as the kitchen. We installed a special bed and flooring that kept it from moving during transfers.”

Christina Hahn, RN, MSN, and
SeniorBridge Supervisor of Care Managers.

Navigating Multiple SCI Complications

Spaulding had access to a nearby apartment that served as a transitional living facility for post-discharge patients. “We assessed everything,” said Christina Hahn. “We moved in a Hoyer lift and made sure the whole apartment was wheelchair-accessible to key areas such as the kitchen. We installed a special bed and flooring that kept it from moving during transfers.”

The client’s care was initially 24/7. “We had a caregiver and a nurse all the time,” recalled Christina Hahn. “There were breathing issues, and many times when he needed to clear his airway he wasn’t able to cough to get the secretions out. We made sure oxygen was always available.”

According to Ms. Hahn, SCI patients with thoracic and cervical injuries often experience autonomic dysreflexia, the sudden onset of dangerously low blood pressure. “His BP would drop and his body would shut down,” she said, “because neural connections were not communicating.” Slowly, however, the client stabilized and improved through a combination of outpatient rehabilitation at Spaulding, and transitional care from SeniorBridge in the transitional apartment environment.

“SCI patients often experience autonomic dysreflexia, the sudden onset of dangerous fluctuations in blood pressure.”

Christina Hahn, RN, MSN, and
SeniorBridge Supervisor of Care Managers.

Instilling a Recovery Frame of Mind

Both Nicole Bell and Christina Hahn agree that helping the client achieve the right psychological state was central to his recovery. “We told him that each day, he was shaping his future,” said Hahn. “Each day, we encouraged him to advocate for himself, make his own decisions, and be a partner in his own recovery.”

Daily logs documented and detailed every aspect of his progress. The reporting made it clear to everyone involved – his care providers, his parents, his employer’s insurance claim adjusters, and even Mark himself – that he was successfully working to optimize his own functionality.

“It was great to see him become empowered. He took control of what he wanted, which was to be as independent as possible. He learned to advocate for himself.”

NICOLE BELL, SENIORBRIDGE SALES EXECUTE

Outcomes

  • The client is now home with his parents.
  • His parents have made the home handicapped-accessible.
  • Before moving home, he decided to make a trip to Nebraska.
  • While he was there, he re-learned to drive a car, one of the many steps he has taken on the path to independence.

Learn more about our services

SeniorBridge has on-call professionals available 24/7 to answer your questions. Contact us now to learn more about our services and how we can help.

1-855-627-3684

Available 24/7