Craig Hospital - Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Care and Rehabilitation
Author: Thomas C. Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
Published: 2012-12-12 : (Rev. 2019-01-12)
Craig Hospital located in Denver Colorado is an acute care and rehabilitation hospital exclusively specializing in research and neuro-rehabilitation of people who have experienced SCI or TBI.
Craig Hospital, located in Denver, Colorado, is a long-term acute care and rehabilitation hospital exclusively specializing in the research and neuro-rehabilitation of people who have experienced a spinal cord injury (SCI) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The hospital has treated more than 29,000 people with SCI or a TBI since the year 1956 and has treated more people with SCI than any other single facility in America. Craig Hospital is a national center of excellence; every year people and family members from across America choose Craig Hospital for rehabilitation and follow-up services.
The hospital's spinal cord injury rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation and research programs have been designated by the United States National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation (NIDRR) as Model Systems Centers. Craig Hospital also houses the NIDRR TBI National Data and Statistical Center. The hospital has been ranked in the Top Ten Rehabilitation Hospitals for 23 consecutive years by U.S. News and World Report and the year 2011 found Craig Hospital being ranked as the #1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America by the American Nurses Association (ANA) for achieving outstanding nursing quality based upon the nursing performance measures in the ANA's National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators.
Craig Hospital's functional patient outcomes are indeed superior when compared to nearly every other regional and national average in the majority of important measures of rehabilitative effectiveness. On average, Craig Hospital, 'graduates:'
- Require less care from attendants
- Are more functionally independent
- Experience fewer re-hospitalizations
- Are discharged home at higher rates
- Return to school or work in higher numbers
- Make higher functional gains during their initial treatment
- Have higher levels of satisfaction in life and reintegration in their communities
- Have higher earning power than peers in their national population in other programs
The success of the people who come to Craig Hospital is due to their levels of personal motivation. Craig Hospital focuses on expertise and resources, a large patient, 'mileu,' high staff to patient ratios, incredible longevity of physicians and staff members, family inclusion, cutting-edge equipment and technology, on-site housing, family services, as well as an overall upbeat culture of caring, compassion, pride, aggressive therapy, and hope.
As a non-profit organization, rehabilitation and research hospital providing long-term acute care (LTAC), Craig Hospital is dedicated to providing the best quality of catastrophic injury rehabilitation and treatment available - period. People who have been associated with Craig Hospital in any way consistently state that the hospital is a very unique and important place to them.
A Recent Personal Experience at Craig Hospital
The Craig Hospital level of commitment to the populations they serve was recently demonstrated on a highly personal level to this writer and my friend who experiences quadriplegia when we went to the hospital. He was there to receive motor skills testing after going through a surgery and the specialist who performed the testing was truly exceptional. She was patient, caring, skilled, educated, and incredibly wonderful to work with.
Unfortunately, after the testing was done we went back out to my friends customized wheelchair lift equipped van to discover that it would not start. The Security Department at Craig Hospital promptly responded, sending a Security Guard with a battery pack to attempt to start the van. Sadly, the van still wouldn't start.
We called a tow truck to take the van to the Ford dealer in the area and began our wait for the van to be repaired. The wonderful thing about Craig Hospital is the entire environment is what my friend describes as being, 'like Cheer's, where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.' My friend is on a first name basis with nearly every one of the staff members at Craig Hospital after going there for thirty years.
The Charge Nurse on the floor he stayed on after his surgery promptly adopted both of us, put him in a bed, and put me in the fold-out couch bed in the same room for the night. It was an immense relief because it meant we would not have to sleep in the lobby of the hospital. For my friend, it meant less wear and tear on his skin; sitting in his power wheelchair for so long is hard on him. The nurses on the floor fed us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and grape juice too.
The next day, the Ford dealership told us that it would be late in the afternoon before the van was ready; the starter on the van had to be replaced. We sat in the lobby of the hospital and Craig Hospital Security kept us warm with coffee and good companionship. The Charge Nurse from the day shift made sure we had the things we needed and made sure we were not somehow lost without help. None of the people at Craig Hospital had to do these things, they are simply great people.
We finally got the van back and went home to Colorado Springs, but our thanks to the staff members at Craig Hospital are immense. Without their assistance, things would have been far more difficult than they were. The entire Craig Hospital campus is also decorated for the Holidays, which made things much more pleasant.
The Craig Hospital System of Care
The Craig Hospital system of care is comprehensive and starts at the onset of a person's injury. The care Craig provides includes:
- Early long-term acute care
- Initial rehabilitation
- Outpatient services
- Assistance with a lifetime of follow-up care
The unique sharing arrangements available through Craig Hospital with the Denver area's leading trauma facilities and consultants enable the hospital to offer people a wide range of support and clinical services. Craig Hospital coordinates air and land medical transportation to the hospital as needed. Through early intervention, the team at Craig may prevent complications and make important decisions concerning medical and rehabilitative interventions.
Craig Hospital's Interdisciplinary Approach
Every person and family has a consistent, interdisciplinary treatment team of professionals that includes:
- A physician
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist - Therapeutic recreation specialist
- Patient and family service counselor
The following team members are provided to people who require them as needed:
- Respiratory therapist
- Speech and language pathologist
Other team members may be provided as well. The person's team meets on a regular basis with the person and their family members to set goals, develop treatment plans, review the person's progress, and to coordinate services the person will need once they have been discharged and are at home. Craig Hospital provides a very individualized, personal approach to treatment that focuses on a person's cognitive, physical, and psychological well-being. The hospital sets high-expectations for people participating in therapy and assists people to set high expectations for themselves.
The Power of the Peer Group
One of the best and most important benefits of Craig Hospital is the opportunity for people with similar backgrounds, ages, and injuries to encourage, teach, and support each other. At any particular time, Craig Hospital has around 50-55 people who are inpatients experiencing a spinal cord injury, and 25-30 people who are in the hospital due to a traumatic brain injury. Family members also have the opportunity to learn from one another and form supportive relationships. Interactive education between peer groups significantly supplements the things people and family members learn from staff members and are an incredibly valuable benefit of specialized rehabilitation. 'Graduates,' of Craig Hospital and their family members consistently give credit for a portion of their success to the things other people and their family members have taught them, as well as the friendships they have developed during their time at Craig Hospital - things that many times last for a lifetime.
Craig Hospital has always been of the belief that family members are important to a person's rehabilitative process and has designated staff members who have fairly small workloads to help families. Counselors help families to adjust to injury, understand insurance policies, apply for public benefits, and deal with discharge planning. Craig Hospital does not have any restrictions in relation to visiting hours, family members are encouraged to attend their loved one's therapy sessions and participate with the team. The hospital offers 30 free days of apartment housing that is close by during a person's initial inpatient rehabilitation, and longer stays can be arranged at a low cost.
Patient and Family Education at Craig Hospital
Education of people and family members is highly emphasized at Craig Hospital; they have produced a large library of educational resources that are available only to people and family members to include:
- 320 master tapes
- 35 on-demand videos
- SCI and TBI textbooks
- 36 patient education handouts
Craig also has educational groups for people and their family members and is committed to providing a culturally sensitive working and inpatient environment. Craig Hospital provides language and interpreter assistive services as well, and educational materials may be available in a person's preferred verbal or written language. The hospital's staff receives training in cultural competency and a portion of their caring environment is their sensitivity to the particular needs of people, their family members, and the hospital's staff members.
Communication is a vital component of the programs at Craig Hospital. Regular conferences involving people, their family members, doctors, treatment teams, as well as insurance representatives are a standard of practice at the hospital. Craig encourages active involvement from the person's case manager and insurance representatives throughout the person's rehabilitative and discharge process, providing ongoing written and verbal updates and needed documentation during the person's treatment.
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