We encourage rapid referral as soon as spinal cord injury is identified. Spinal cord injured patients are admitted for the following conditions:
- Trauma such as car accidents, falls, gunshots, diving accidents, war injuries, etc. Given the primacy of the spinal cord injury as the key diagnostic variable, patients following acute spinal trauma should invariably be referred immediately for advice and admission as soon as practicable
- Ischemia resulting from occlusion of spinal blood vessels, including dissecting aortic aneurisms, emboli, arteriosclerosis
- Transverse myelitis, resulting from spinal cord stroke, inflammation, or other causes
- Vascular malformations, such as arteriovenous malformation (AVM), dural arteriovenous fistula (AVF), spinal hemangioma, cavernous angioma and aneurysm. However, where there is a supra spinal pathology then assessment is required for suitability.
Referrals from English NHS trusts need to be made through the national Spinal Cord Injury Database (see below for other referrers). Please include as much clinical information as possible in the referral including history of present complaint, past medical history, scan finding, any surgical interventions and current clinical condition.
The Spinal Outreach Team will arrange a visit within five days of referral to assess and advise on care and begin the outreach management of individuals until either admission to the Centre of otherwise.
In the interim period, while the patient is waiting to be transferred, the referring hospital will be given appropriate advice regarding:
- Altered physiology and management
- Mode of transport
- Care during transfer
- Acute nursing needs management
Ventilator dependent spinal cord injury patients. The referral process for patients on ventilators is the same as other patients with spinal cord injury.
All referrals are discussed and fed back to the MDT each Monday. Planning for admission of all new referrals takes place at this meeting. Priority of patient admission is given by date of referral and the specific bed required.
Once accepted to await a spinal rehab bed, ongoing MDT outreach support will continue until the person is admitted.