Improving the quality of life with educational and recreational opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

By Dr. James Wilson, DO

The healthcare system can be hard for anyone to navigate. Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) often struggle to find high-quality, comprehensive, accessible, and coordinated preventative care. Changes after SCI demand proactive and wholistic preventative care, but finding high-quality and convenient wheelchair-accessible care is not always simple. MetroHealth’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department wants to streamline the process for people with SCI and avoid miscommunication or missed opportunities.

In September 2021, the SCI Medical Home (SMH) was established at the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute. A Medical Home is a patient-centered philosophy to provide comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, and accessible care focused on quality and safety. The idea for collaborative and coordinated care has existed for a long time, but it is rarely sustainable without grant funding, philanthropic support, or government support (such as the VA or Canada). MetroHealth’s experience working with the most vulnerable and underserved populations uniquely prepares us to effectively follow this practice model long-term.

The central piece of the new SCI Medical Home is an interdisciplinary annual clinic focused on preventative care occurring on Tuesday afternoons at the 3 North clinic of Old Brooklyn Campus of MetroHealth. Please note that the term “Home” suggests that this clinic is the center or starting point for most or all of your medical needs. Providers will not be going to patient homes. However, in one visit, patients will have the opportunity to see multiple providers, talk with researchers, and complete most recommended blood tests, vaccinations, and x-rays.

SCI Medical Home Team

  • SCI Provider: specialists experienced in your SCI needs; prevent problems before they arise and assess your bowel, bladder, skin, etc
  • Family Medicine Physician: board-certified physician to provide full-spectrum Primary Care and SCI-specific preventative care, including basic OB/GYN care
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy: assessment for change in function, discussion of new rehabilitation goals, evaluate equipment, home or vehicle needs
  • SCI Researchers: discuss ongoing SCI research opportunities, SCI Model System updates, educational resources, community outreach
  • SCI Nursing: careful skin and weight assessment, blood draws, vaccinations, digital screening tools, reeducation about SCI care
  • SCI Specialty Referrals: SCI Wound Clinic, Osteoporosis Clinic, Spasticity Clinic, SCI Urodynamic Clinic, Wheelchair/Seating Clinic, Gerson Community Resource Center, Tetraplegia Management Clinic, Pain and Healing Center, High-Tech Driver Training, and other specialty care providers

What to expect on the day of your Medical Home encounter?

  • The main focus is coordinated preventative healthcare. Some issues will require you to return for focused one-on-one visits to address.
  • You will be scheduled for four 30-minute encounters (see example schedule). Please expect your entire visit to take 2 hours or a little longer.
  • Plan to bring a caregiver to help discuss your care and assist with transfers and toileting if needed. If you have a wound, wear loose-fitting clothes. If you have an equipment issue, please bring your equipment for inspection.
  • If you think you need a pelvic GYN exam (PAP smear), please notify the staff during scheduling to make sure we can accommodate you.
  • Return in 1 year for the full clinic. See your individual providers one on one as needed.

Location: 3 North clinic of Old Brooklyn Campus – 4229 Pearl Rd, Cleveland OH 44109

If you or someone you care about has a spinal cord injury, reach out for more information today: Call 216-778-4414 or sign up via

About the author

Leave a Reply