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Spinal Cord Injury or Disorder (SCI/D): Adjusting After You Leave the Hospital

After your spinal cord injury or disorder (SCI/D), you were likely in a hospital where healthcare providers monitored you around the clock. And you had daily routines and schedules. This was necessary while you recovered and learned the skills you need to stay healthy. Once you leave the hospital, you need to provide for your needs, make your own routines, and make decisions about how you live. The transition back into your daily life after SCI is a challenging process. Your SCI team is prepared to assist with these transitions. Remember that you have already faced many challenges, and you can handle these too.Man with spinal cord injury drives a car.

Moving Back Into Your Life

After discharge, it is common to feel overwhelmed. To help you cope during this time:

  • Keep using the skills you learned during your rehabilitation. Anytime you face a new task or situation, remember how you managed challenges during your initial recovery.

  • Take large tasks and break them into smaller, more reasonable goals. As you reach each goal, set a new one. In this way, you can eventually build the skills you need to deal with even the biggest challenges.

  • Stay positive. Take note of every success, accomplishment, and step in the right direction, no matter how small. Think of these anytime you feel discouraged.

  • Use the daily self-care skills you learned during rehabilitation. These are the tasks you need to do every day to keep your body healthy. Follow your treatment care plan, including bowel and bladder care, pressure relief, safe transfers, and taking medications.

  • Structure your day. This can help make your transition home and into the community easier. Make schedules for yourself and be sure you plan in fun activities.

Don't Go It Alone—Get Help!

Know that help is available. Your SCI team will continue to help support you after your discharge and help you problem-solve. Ask your team for resources, suggestions, and support. Talk to other people who have an SCI/D. Never hesitate to ask questions. As you encounter new situations, you will likely have new concerns. Accept encouragement, support, and assistance from your loved ones. And, if at any time during this process you find that you're having trouble coping, are becoming depressed, or are anxious or worried about the future, contact your SCI team.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
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