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Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program

The mission of Burke Rehabilitation Hospital's Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Rehabilitation Program is to provide the most comprehensive, patient centered and effective rehabilitation to maximize recovery from physical, cognitive and psychological impairments caused by traumatic and acquired spinal cord dysfunction. The interdisciplinary team works collaboratively with you and your family and/or caregiver to facilitate achievement of the best possible physical and mental recovery. Intensive rehabilitation is provided in a safe, secure and structured environment to allow you to reach your full potential and return to an active, productive lifestyle.

Within a safe, secure and structured environment, Burke offers intensive therapy seven days a week. Your schedule will be determined by your individual needs and goals. As a patient in any of Burke's inpatient programs, you will receive up to 3 hours of therapy a day, 5 days per week, generally Monday through Friday, and additional therapy on Saturday and/or Sunday for one hour. Skilled therapy will be provided in a combination of physical therapy and occupational therapy and/or speech therapy as needed.  Rehabilitation nursing and access to a physician are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Burke’s intensive and comprehensive program focuses on maximizing each person’s ability to function, through personalized care and individually designed therapy programs. Preventing complications, improving self confidence and optimizing adaptation and education helps patients achieve the highest level of independence possible.

Scope of Services for Rehabilitation After a Spinal Cord Injury

Burke’s Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Rehabilitation Program:

  • Maximizes recovery from the physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments caused by spinal cord injury
  • Provides the highest quality, patient focused rehabilitation
  • Provides rehabilitation through an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes communication, collaboration and cooperation
  • Focuses on the individual’s capabilities and use of compensatory strategies and devices to lessen activity limitations
  • Removes or lessens restrictions to participation in life roles and situations to the extent possible, and counsels and educates individuals and families on alternative possibilities for life participation when necessary
  • Prepares the individual with a spinal cord injury, family and/or caregiver to make the transition to the next stage of the rehabilitative process

Cultural and religious needs are respected for each patient by the entire team.  Accommodations to the patient’s schedule, dietary needs and requests, and the provision of appropriate equipment are provided to enhance the patient’s experience and support full participation in the rehabilitation program.  All staff members participate in annual cultural diversity and sensitivity training. Patients’ preferences are shared throughout the team to ensure that patients receive individualized care.

For all programs, the age range will be 16 years old through the lifespan. However, referrals for patients younger than 16 years old will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

In 2021, 218 patients were discharged from the SCI Program to the following settings:

  • 66.1% (144) of the patients returned home with outpatient or home care services.
  • 20.2% (44) of the patients continued therapy at a sub-acute rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility.
  • 12.8% (28) of the patients returned to the acute care hospital.
  • 0% of the patients entered a long term care facility.

In order to ascertain the long-term outcome for the individual, Burke contracts with a company to conduct follow-up interviews via phone at 3-months post-discharge. Three months post-discharge from Burke in 2021, the patients experienced the following outcomes:

    • Percent of patients in the community = 82.0%
    • Overall satisfaction with Rehabilitation Experience 3.82 out of 4
    • Goal attainment satisfaction 3.10 out of 4

When asked about feeling of independence and autonomy in daily life: 31.0% report feeling highly independent at 3 months post discharge.

Within the scope of the Spinal Cord Injury/Neurologic Program, patient evaluation and care planning are designed around the World Health Organization definitions. The model assesses levels of dysfunction which stem from the patients’ admitting diagnosis regarding impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.

Impairments: Weakening, damage, or deterioration of function within a specific component of the neurological system, as a result of injury or disease.

Examples: Decreases in strength, active range of motion, passive range of motion, cognition, balance, and/or activity tolerance along with increases in pain.                                                                         

Activity Limitations: The inability to perform a specific task as a consequence of the impairments mentioned above. 

Examples: Difficulty with mobility, ambulation, stair negotiation, eating, or self-care.

Participation Restrictions: The cumulative effect of impairments and activity limitations on the ability of a person to participate in life roles. 

Examples: Inability to perform duties as a parent, caregiver, employee or participant in social and leisure activities.

Team Description

The rehabilitation team consists you and your family and/or caregivers, as well as medical, nursing and other rehabilitation personnel who, by virtue of their education and experience, are qualified to work with this patient population. The medical and rehabilitation professionals on the team are responsible for assessing your medical, behavioral and rehabilitation needs, establishing individualized goals in consultation with you and/or your family/caregiver, designing and implementing a treatment program, assessing its outcome, communicating with the team and preparing you and your family for the next phase in the spinal cord injury rehabilitation process.  

The philosophy of the Spinal Cord Injury Program is that the program’s mission can best be accomplished by providing rehabilitative care through an interdisciplinary team approach.

The team consists of the following:

  • Individual with spinal cord injury
  • Individual’s family and/or caregiver(s)
  • Physician
  • Rehabilitation Nursing
  • Neuropsychology
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Social Work/Case Management
  • Nutrition
  • Respiratory Therapy

Additional services available to meet the needs of each individual patient include: 

  • Medical consultations (Podiatry, Urology, Plastics, ENT, Dermatology, etc.)
  • Wound Care by Certified Wound and Ostomy Nurse(s)
  • Spiritual Services
  • Orthotic/Prosthetic services
  • Pharmacy
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Laboratory services
  • Complimentary therapy
  • Wheelchair seating/positioning
  • Peer support

From admission through the discharge planning process, team members work collaboratively with each other, the individual with the spinal cord injury or neurological condition and the family and/or caregiver(s) to ensure that the specific needs of each individual are addressed. Patient and family and/or caregiver involvement and participation is strongly encouraged throughout the entire rehabilitation process.

Patient and Family / Caregiver Education

Ongoing education of the individual with a spinal cord injury and the family and/or caregiver is essential in order to maximize recovery from the physical, cognitive and psychological impairments and effectively prepare the individual and family and/or caregiver for the transition to the next stage in the rehabilitation process.

Individuals with a spinal cord injury will receive ongoing education from each discipline throughout his/her stay in order to maximize achievement of each their goals. Much education focuses on the fact that, for many patients, their injuries and resulting conditions are life-changing and lifelong. Coping, resources, and the need for lifelong follow up to deal with changing needs are provided.

Family members and/or caregivers are encouraged to attend and participate in treatment sessions and patient care activities as appropriate. Providing education and training for the family and/or caregivers is an essential component of the patient’s rehabilitation stay and provides an opportunity to successfully transition the patient to the next phase of rehabilitation.  In addition, a monthly support group is held at Burke for people with spinal cord injuries.

Admission Criteria

Every potential patient who may benefit from our care is discussed with the screening staff, physician, and/or program director. The rehabilitation potential for every patient is evaluated prior to admission. 

Screening Process
Referrals to Burke are usually made by physicians, social workers, discharge planners or case managers. A reasonable medical and functional profile must be provided and appropriate sections of the medical record from the acute care process are included. A rehabilitation nurse may also perform a detailed evaluation at the referring institution. Recommendations are then made to the appropriate member of the medical staff who renders a final decision with regard to admission.

Discharge Planning

The discharge planning process begins when the patient is first admitted to the program. The social worker/case manager leads the planning process, coordinating information from all members of the interdisciplinary team and acting as the primary liaison between the team and the patient and family. Based on the individual’s functional status for self-care, mobility and other daily life skills, family/caregiver support, medical needs, pre-morbid living situation and level of function, and available health insurance, the team, in collaboration with the patient and family, makes recommendations for the most appropriate and suitable discharge plan for the patient. At the team or family’s request, a meeting with the team and patient/family is scheduled to discuss available discharge options. The patient’s and family’s preferences are of primary concern and the team will make recommendations for a safe discharge when options for continued care and rehabilitation are considered. 

Recommendations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Home with home care services
  • Home with outpatient services
  • Sub-acute rehabilitation services
  • Long term care services
  • Hospice services

Financial Information

For information regarding fees and insurance, please click here.


Located in White Plains, New York, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital's Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program (SCI Rehab) attracts patients from Westchester County, New York City, Long Island, Northern New Jersey, and Connecticut. Burke also welcomes spinal cord injury patients from across the country and around the world.

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Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Rehabilitation Program Video


Why choose Burke for Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation?

Learn more about Burke's Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation program from a former patient.


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Spinal Cord Program Outcomes

See how our Spinal Cord Program has impacted patients' lives.

What Our Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Patients Are Saying

Read about the experiences of former SCI rehab patients.

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Burke Rehabilitation Hospital
785 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605

Hospital Main Telephone

(914) 597-2500, (888) 99-BURKE