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Spinal cord injury and disorders

Veterans are provided comprehensive, coordinated, lifelong primary and specialty-care for spinal cord injuries and disorders at VA Puget Sound health care.

Obtaining care

We care for Veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders at all levels and degrees of completeness (cervical to lumbar spine, complete and incomplete injury), with any additional co-morbidities, including tracheostomy, assisted ventilation (CPAP/BiPAP), and ventilator dependency.  You may become a new patient if there is a reasonable expectation that rehabilitation will result in increased function, reduced barriers to participation, and improved quality of life for the patient and the family.

All referrals to  our specialty team are reviewed to determine Veteran eligibility. Veterans who are referred but do not meet the criteria for the VA's spinal cord system of care are provided guidance for obtaining other services offered within the VA.

Services provided

Spinal cord injuries and disorders can lead to weakness and changes in sensation.  Changes impacting arms and legs is called “tetraplegia” and changes affecting the legs is call “paraplegia”.  The severity of the changes is determined by the degree of injury to the spinal cord and its anatomical components.  Injuries can occur due to trauma, such as motor vehicle collision or fall. They can be caused by medical conditions, such as spinal stenosis or spinal aneurysms.  Our spinal cord injury and disorders specialists provide direct care and coordinate across our health care system of services.  These services include:

  • Spinal cord injury related medical care; including, spasticity, bowel, bladder, sexuality, and skin management 
  • Spinal cord injury rehabilitation nursing
  • Spinal cord injury therapy, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and recreation therapy
  • Spinal cord injury psychology services and counseling
  • Primary care 
  • Social work services

Our mission

Veteran health, independence, productivity and quality of life is the focus of our spinal cord specialty staff.  The Spinal Cord Injury Service Line plans and coordinates healthcare by providers who recognize the uniqueness of every Veteran. Veteran care includes the identification and treatment of illness and promotion of health, according to Veteran’s wishes and Veteran/family education and advocacy.

Our team provides primary, secondary, and tertiary care for patients from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Care and service are provided in a collaborative, interdisciplinary manner by physicians, nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals to achieve optimal outcomes.