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After surgery, and once the patient is stabilized, the patient must start rehabilitation. The patient will also need supportive care. Family members, nurses and specially trained aids can give supportive care. Supportive care includes helping the patient with daily living activities such as dressing, bathing, and changing positions to prevent bedsores.
Rehabilitation includes physical and occupational therapy and counseling for emotional support. A rehabilitation program is designed specifically for each individual patient, in order to meet that patient's needs.
Depending on the hospital the surgery was done at, rehabilitation services may be done at the hospital, or the patient may be admitted to a rehabilitation facility. This also depends on the severity of the spinal cord injury and the outcome of surgery. Some patients are able to complete rehabilitation at home or on an outpatient basis.
Physical therapy programs help restore muscle strength, flexibility, mobility, coordination and can also help the patient maintain body functions. Physical therapy consists of exercise, massage and hydrotherapy. It also includes gait training, if needed, and training to use assistive devices if needed.