Goals of Rehabilitation Following a Spinal Cord Injury

Change should be expected following a spinal cord injury. One of the most important things that a person can do is setting goals for rehabilitation following a spinal injury. Setting goals allows a person to “facilitate [his/her] return to performance of accustomed tasks and roles in [his/her] family and in society.” Of course, accomplishing goals requires a person who suffers from a spinal injury to make adjustments, acquire certain skills, possess necessary equipment, adapt their physical environment, and maintain their health.


First of all, one who suffers a spinal cord injury must make psychosocial adjustments including coming to terms with their loss. Furthermore, a person must make adjustments to their vocation and recreation activities since many of the activities possible before injury are now impractical. Adapting these two areas of one’s life will likely require significant changes, but are necessary to developing a well adjusted life.

Functional Skills

Perhaps most affected by spinal cord injuries are a person’s physical capabilities. Learning to function despite altered capabilities will require one to take up functional training. The goals set in this area are critical, as accomplishing them will allow a person to become more independent and mobile.

Necessary Equipment

Acquiring the necessary equipment following spinal injury is interconnected with developing functional skills that allow a person to maintain their independence. Often, as part of an overall plan for recovery, the right equipment enhances one’s health and performance of socially defined

Adapting the Physical Environment

The architectural environment of most places is not well suited to those with spinal cord injuries. The most adaptable place is often the home environment, and adequate adaptation should take place in order to promote independence.

Maintaining Health

Following a spinal cord injury, a host of health maintenance issues will arise that one probably did not consider prior to injury. “Virtually constant vigilance is required to avoid complications such as pressure sores and urinary tract infections.” Avoiding deterioration of health requires
one to “learn how [his/her] body works, how to prevent and detect complications, and what to do when complications occur.”

Setting practical goals in these areas will help a person’s rehabilitation following spinal cord injury.