Care checklist

Looking after yourself

Care checklist

Having the right care is essential for the wellbeing of all people with spinal cord injury. There is a minimum level of healthcare that every person with SCI deserves and should expect.

Listed below are 15 essential checks and services you should receive.

If you aren’t getting all the care you need, take this checklist to your spinal outpatient clinic appointment team and discuss it with them.

1 Have your blood pressure measured and recorded at least once a year, and set a personal target that is right for you.
2 Have your weight checked and have your waist measured to see if you need to lose weight.
3 Get your blood glucose levels measured at least once a year.
4 Have your blood fats (cholesterol) measured every year. Like blood glucose levels and blood pressure, you should have your own target that is realistic and achievable.
5 Have your legs and feet checked – the skin and circulation of your legs and feet should be examined annually.
6 Have your kidney functions monitored annually. You should have a blood test to measure kidney function and some years x-rays and scans of your kidneys will be required.
7 Get support if you are a smoker including advice and support on how to quit
8 Receive care planning to meet your individual needs – you live with SCI every day so you should have a say in every aspect of your care. Your yearly healthcare plan should be agreed as a result of a discussion between you and your SCI healthcare team, where you talk about your individual needs and set targets.
9 Attend an education course to help you understand and manage your SCI. You should consider this if it some time since you attended any spinal cord injury training session.
10 Receive high quality care if admitted to any hospital. If you have to stay in any hospital, you should still continue to receive the care you need for your body, including skin care, bowel management and bladder management, regardless of whether you have been admitted due to your SCI or not.
11 If admitted to a non spinal hospital ask the team to contact the spinal unit for specific advice if you are worried about aspects of your care while in hospital.
12 Get information and specialist care if you are planning to have a baby.
13 Be kept up to date from specialist SCI healthcare professionals to help you manage your SCI at different stages of your life. SCI affects different parts of the body and you should have the opportunity to see specialist professionals such as an Occupational therapist, physiotherapist, podiatrist or dietitian.
14 Consider what emotional and psychological support you need and your family may need. living with a long term condition can be difficult not just at the time of diagnosis. You should be able to talk about your issues and concerns with specialist healthcare professionals.
15 This list is not exhaustive so continue to monitor your health in partnership with your spinal unit who aim to continue to assist in the lifelong care of your injury