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Thread: West Coast Rehab Facilities

  1. #1

    West Coast Rehab Facilities

    Hi everybody. My father-in-law is a C2 complete as of Sept 12 due to a swimming pool accident, and we're currently trying to find a rehab facility for him. He and his wife are from Seattle, but the accident happened in San Diego, which is where he is at currently (UCSD Medical Center).

    Due to family proximity, we're confining our search to the west coast. Since he is vent-dependent (BTW he is not a veteran), we've narrowed down our choices to the following facilities:

    - Rancho Los Amigos in Downey, CA
    - Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA
    - Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

    Any comments, stories, opinons, information, etc about any of these facilities would be greatly appreciated. We just want to make sure we choose a place that will provide the best possible rehabilitation experience and help my father-in-law realize his full recovery potential.

  2. #2
    Senior Member fishin'guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Seattle area Wash state
    UWMC in Seattle is GREAT. Been touted as in best 10 in the country. I can't say enuf for the experience I had there. I had a surgical"accident" there, bvut that's a different problem. The rehab is superb. A couple of the ladies and men have been ther for more than 20 yrs(an none look older than 40, go figure, I beleive it has to do with satisfaction in their job).One had a couple of yrs experience at VA, which really works the boys. I have a few i consider more friends now, than therapists.This IS a SPINAL injury clinic,and they work as such. AND some of the most amazing views from the gym!
    Last edited by fishin'guy; 10-07-2008 at 02:41 PM.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply fishin' guy. Personally, from the research I've done so far this is my top choice out of the three, but the decision isn't up to me. How long were you there? Were you an inpatient, and if so how are the living conditions? Did you have any difficulty being accepted into the program, or with insurance? If you don't mind my asking, how much did you recover? Sorry for all the questions, the experience is still new and there are so many unknowns.

  4. #4
    I can recommend all 3, but keep in mind that Rancho is a county hospital, and there tend to be a lot of gang members older man on a vent may not feel entirely comfortable with his SCI peers there. While SCVMC is also a county hospital, I think they have less issues with this than Rancho.

    I would also definitely add Craig Hospital in Denver and Shephard Center in Atlanta to your list. If you can get him out of state (such as to WA) then these other locations should also be strongly considered.

    Moving this to the Doctors and Clinics forum. You may also want to post in the New SCI forum.


  5. #5
    I was at SCVMC for about five weeks in 2007 .. in fact it's been about a year since I was discharged. I was pretty happy with the program, therapists, patient support & education.

    The hospital food seemed kind of nasty, but it's a balanced diet I guess. I did ask my friends to bring me fresh fruit and protein shakes, but that's personal preference.

    It's pretty close to where I live, so going there for outpatient therapy and followup visits to the PM & R clinic was fairly convenient.

  6. #6
    Thanks KLD. I recommended Craig to the family but the only places they'll consider are the three I mentioned. Regarding RLA, I figured as much based on the neighborhood it's in. We visited it and it's quite old and a bit run down. It also concerns me that it was almost shut down a few years ago due to budget cuts.

    Thanks rhyang for the info on SCVMC. If the biggest complaint you had was with the food then it must be a pretty good place.

  7. #7

    Project Walk in Carlsbad, CA

    Does anyone have any information on this place? When (if) my FIL is off the vent would this be a good rehab facility or him?

  8. #8
    Project Walk is a post-acute rehab exercise program. It is not an inpatient acute rehab program, has no nursing, respiratory therapy, psychology or social work, and the last time I checked, no certified or registered OTs or PTs. The staff are largely taught on-site or have a background in PE or exercise physiology. Because of this, it is rarely if ever covered by insurance. It is not CARF accredited. It is also not equipped to teach the basic skills and knowledge you would acquire in a specialty SCI acute rehab center such as SCVMC, Univ. of WA, Rancho or Craig.

    After he completes a full acute rehab program, if he is incomplete, and you want to spend the money on a post-acute exercise outpatient program, this would be fine.

    Have they said he is incomplete? Did someone think he is actually weanable? This would be extremely rare if he is ASIA A.


  9. #9
    Thanks for the valuable info KLD. I didn't realize that Project Walk is not accredited, has no medical staff, etc. It sounded great from the limited info on its website. My FIL has been accepted into SCVMC and will be transferred there as early as Tuesday Oct 14. We're just waiting for insurance to approve. We're also looking for a good outpatient rehab facility in SoCal that he could attend once he's completed the program at SCVMC. Casa Colima in Pomona sounds like it has potential - what can anyone tell me about this facility?

    Regarding complete vs incomplete, I've been going with the assumtion that he is complete, however for whatever reason no doctor has told us this explicitly. I know about the bulbocavernosus reflex test, and I think he was given the test like the second or third day after his injury, and he had no sensation. But I'm not 100% sure about that and I don't know if he's been given the test again recently. Regarding weaning potential, the other day they had him off the vent for seven minutes and he breathed on his own. He's also been yawning occasionally, which I would assume is a step in the right direction for independent breathing. Again, no one has given us any indication about whether he's weanable or not.

  10. #10
    Wait to see what SCVMC says. They are expert at this.

    Casa Colina has a good outpatient program. I think you could rely on them for a good transitional program, and then either home exercise or consider PW, but only after completing a full traditional inpatient acute rehab program such as you are planning.

    He may be C3 from what you describe, but it is nearly impossible to wean with a C3 complete injury as there is not enough innervation of the diaphragm to do it full time. Christopher Reeve had a C3 injury and learned fairly early to breathe up to an hour off the vent, but was unable to sustain this full time. You really need C4 in (and strong) to wean, and even then it is common that older patients do not succeed full time.


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