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Scope of Care

The Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center is located within Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and is a member of Covenant Health.  The rehabilitation center adheres to the Mission Statement of Covenant Health which is to serve the community by improving the quality of life through better health.  In the quest to fulfill this mission, Covenant Health is committed to its vision of being the region’s premier healthcare network by providing patient-centered care that inspires clinical and service excellence, making us the first and best choice for our patients, employees, physicians, volunteers, employers and communities. This mission is based on three values:

  • The patient always comes first
  • Excellence in everything we do
  • We will do our part to be the first and best choice

The Spinal Cord System of Care is located on 3East of The Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center/Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. The inpatient and outpatient program treatment areas are located together to allow patients to interact and support one another.    
The rooftop therapy park, independent living apartment, accessible rehabilitation kitchens, education classroom, and recreation room are also utilized as needed.  The current physical plant of Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center is approximately 58,000 dedicated square feet.

The Spinal Cord System of Care at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center is dedicated to providing services to persons who have suffered a loss of physical and/or cognitive impairment secondary to a spinal cord injury or disease process.  The goal of services is to help patients regain the greatest amount of independence and enjoy the highest quality of life.  Services will include appropriate intervention along a continuum of care that best fits the needs of the patient from inpatient to outpatient with coordination of available community services.   The inpatient Spinal Cord System of Care accepts patients from ages 18 and up.  Patients less than 18 years of age will be reviewed on a case by case basis.  Outpatient services are available for ages 12 and above. Special considerations will be made for younger patients referred for outpatient specialty services not available elsewhere in the community.

Evaluation and treatment services are offered to patients with the following diagnoses: complete/incomplete, traumatic and non-traumatic spinal cord injuries as well as, but not limited to the following: Guillian–Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal stenosis, transverse myelitis and other neurological and orthopedic conditions affecting the spinal cord. Co-morbidities will be addresses as indicated. At this time we do not accept newly injured patients that are ventilator dependent. 

Patients and families are a vital part of the rehabilitation team and participate with the interdisciplinary team in developing an individualized treatment plan.  Progress towards defined goals is reviewed in a weekly team conference for inpatients and monthly for patients receiving outpatient services. The environment is designed to address the cognitive, physical, educational, psychosocial, and behavioral needs of the patient.  Professional staff members are continually updating treatment skills and techniques to incorporate into the most effective treatment for patients.

The referral and admission/discharge standards are those specified for the Patricia Neal Inpatient Rehabilitation Program (PNRC) and Patricia Neal Outpatient Center (PNOC)

Upon admission to the Spinal Cord System of Care, each patient will undergo comprehensive assessments by the rehabilitation team. 

  • Inpatient: As these assessments are completed, a plan of care will be established by the rehabilitation physician that is individualized to each patient’s specific needs.
  • Outpatient: Comprehensive evaluations are completed as ordered by the physician and reviewed with the patient/family. All information is sent to the patient’s physician for approval and signature.

The Spinal Cord System of Care is comprised of highly qualified individuals with specialty training designed to address the needs of the SCI patient. The following core services are available:

Rehabilitation Medicine/Physiatry

Internal Medicine

Rehabilitation Nursing

Physical Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Recreation Therapy

Speech Language Pathology

Behavioral Medicine/Rehabilitation Psychology

Case Management


The following specialty services are available as needed:

Seating and Mobility

Adaptive Driving

Assistive Technology

Augmentative Communication

Vestibular Program

Adaptive Recreation

Re-Walk Robotic Ambulation Training


The Spinal Cord System of Care has a Peer Mentor Program which allows patients an opportunity to meet with individuals of similar diagnoses who can provide support and act as a resource related to real-life adjustments.  Monthly Support Group meetings provide individuals within the community opportunities to   socialize and learn.

Aspects of Care Specific to Inpatient Services:

Patient treatment is implemented after team members have completed initial assessments.  Patients will participate in individualized treatment plans during their stay at the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center.  These treatment plans will include 1:1 sessions with therapy staff, but may also include treatment in group settings.    Specific treatments and techniques are discussed with family / significant others during scheduled training sessions.  Education and psychosocial supportive services for patients and families are an integral part of the rehabilitation process. An organized education program is in place however, education services are individualized depending upon the patient and family needs.  The education program consists of topics related to anatomy/physiology, diagnosis specific care/needs and topics related to community re-integration, and community resources.

Nursing services are available 24/7.  Therapy services are available 8:00am – 3:30pm, 7 days a week.  A typical day for patients includes 3 hours per day of therapy, consisting of a combination of physical, occupational, and speech therapy.  Weekend therapy is scheduled dependent upon patient need.  Behavioral medicine, recreation therapy, and case management see patients on an as needed based.  All patients are followed by the rehabilitation physician.

Patients are referred to medical specialists and support services within Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center when determined appropriate by the attending physiatrist.  These include, but are not limited to, the following services:

  • Neurosurgery

  • Cardiology

  • Pulmonology

  • Pharmacy

  • GI

  • Orthopedic Surgery

  • Neurology

  • Ophthalmology

  • Otorhinolaryngology

  • General Surgery

  • Plastic Surgery

  • Urology

  • Psychiatry

  • Podiatry

  • Diagnostic Services

  • Respiratory Therapy

  • Orthotics/Prosthetics

  • Dietetics/Nutrition

The patient’s individual plan is reassessed throughout the patient’s stay with plans and goals being revised, as necessary.  The case manager works with the team to develop a plan in consideration of the patient’s goals.  The case manager completes a psychosocial assessment with the patient and the family to determine strengths, weaknesses, and coping skills.  The case manager develops a plan that utilizes the patient’s resources most effectively.  Referrals are made to community agencies when deemed necessary by the team members.  At discharge, the case manager, along with the treatment team will:

  • Finalize discharge plans with the patient and significant other(s).
  • Refer patients to services along the continuum of care such as Outpatient services, Home Health, Post-Acute services, or integration into appropriate community services.
  • Coordinate needed equipment and services such as medication, transportation, and DME.

Aspects of Care Specific to Outpatient Services:

All services are provided on a 1:1 basis.  The patient and family are an integral part of the rehabilitation team. Education is provided on a 1:1 basis.  However, should the patient or family be interested in additional information, group education is available with the inpatients.  Should the patient have additional needs identified, recommendations/referrals for services can be made which include (not all inclusive):

  • Orthotics/prosthetics
  • Assistive technology
  • Assistive Augmentative Communication
  • Driving
  • Mental health issues
  • Community Reintegration
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Community Programs 


Revised: January 2022