Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders (SCI/D) Center - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders (SCI/D) Center

Outpatient Primary Care - Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT)

The SCI Outpatient Primary Care Team uses an integrated approach to provide comprehensive, coordinated, and individualized health care. The team focuses on SCI issues as well as primary health care throughout the life span. The emphasis is on wellness, prevention of complications, achievement of maximum function, and quality of life.

Medical, social, rehabilitation, and mental health care is provided by a team which includes SCI physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, and recreational therapists. When visiting the clinics, patients will be seen by the same team that knows them and their health history.

We provide comprehensive annual health care check-ups as well as appointments for follow-up of specific needs. The staff also provides:

  • Education regarding SCI and general health care issues
  • Medication
  • Medical supplies and equipment needs
  • Telephone consultation
  • Consultation with local providers

Hours of Operation:

The SCI Outpatient Clinic schedules patients by appointment Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., excluding holidays.

SCI Specialty Clinics:

Acupuncture Clinic

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin sterile needles are inserted into the skin in key points based on traditional Chinese medicine. It is used most often for pain relief, and is generally used only in combination with other forms of treatment.

Center Wheelchair Seating and Mobility Clinic

This clinic is staffed by Occupational Therapists who are Assistive Technology specialists with multiple years of expertise in wheelchair seating and mobility. This clinic works in conjunction with the interdisciplinary team to ensure that all Veterans’ therapeutic needs are addressed. The clinic works to optimize proper wheelchair positioning, functional independence and promote good posture, breathing, digestion, and tissue health.

This clinic has access to a wide variety of manual and power wheelchairs, seating and positioning accessories, custom seating, as well as works in coordination with SCI Recreational Therapists on sports specific mobility devices.

Functional Extremity Clinic

This clinic offers a special focus on the shoulder complex. Procedures include ultrasound guided injections and nerve blocks.

Psychology Clinic

Spinal cord injuries and disorders stimulate many people to reconsider their values and priorities in life. SCI Psychologists try to meet every SCI/D Veteran at least yearly to help you recognize your successes, adapt to life's challenges and realize your full potential.

We offer therapy and counseling with a focus on psychological growth and development, in addition to helping Veterans overcome specific problems including weight management, exercise, medication management, career counseling, adapting to new levels of physical disability, substance use disorders, relationship stress, suboptimal impulse control, parenting, personality disorders, depression, suicidal thoughts, posttraumatic stress, anxiety and chronic pain.

We diagnose and treat cognitive problems that may be associated with traumatic brain injuries, alcohol and drug use, or diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

Sexuality Clinic

The SCI Sexuality Program provides comprehensive counseling, education and care related to sexual health for individuals with spinal cord injury. The clinic is staffed by SCI physicians, nurse practitioners, and psychologists who address social, relationship and physical issues related to sexuality and spinal cord injury. Sexual health education, relationship counseling, options for erectile dysfunction, and fertility information is provided for patients and their families.

Sexuality References

Telehealth Clinic and Program

As the regional Spinal Cord Injury Center, we are the resource for patients and their health care providers residing in a large geographical region incorporating Northern California, Central California, Western Nevada, and the Pacific Islands. Telehealth technology has enabled us to share our expertise with non-SCI Center partner sites by providing enhanced consultation.

Our telehealth program uses videoconferencing, computer, web, and information technology to provide health care consultation without requiring the patient to travel. Local clinic visits take place with the Palo Alto SCI clinicians participating through videoconferencing. Both local and consulting clinicians can view the patient, his/her information, pictures, and radiological studies through telehealth. Telehealth consultation is available to patients and their clinicians at VA facilities in Reno and Honolulu.

Upper Extremity Clinic

The VA Palo Alto Spinal Cord Injury Center has recognized the needs of persons with a spinal cord injury for improved hand function and prevention and treatment of upper extremity overuse phenomenon. We have established an upper extremity clinic to address these needs. The clinic is led by accomplished hand surgeons who are affiliated with Stanford Hospital and supported by Upper Extremity Team members including Physiatrists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Orthotists, and an Advanced Practice Nurse.

The clinic offers a practical approach toward the reduction of overuse syndrome and shoulder injuries; strategies include education, exercise training, therapy, and medical and surgical interventions. Specialty surgical interventions including tendon transfer to increase hand function are offered to those who qualify. Benefits from this clinic have included improved independence, ease of performing daily living tasks, and enhanced qualify of life.

Urodynamics Clinic and Program

Urodynamics is a diagnostic test to study bladder function. Patients with spinal cord injury treated at the SCI Center undergo urodynamics to determine bladder function and plan bladder management for the future. The urodynamic evaluation consists of the measurement of the bladder’s filling and emptying capabilities, and assess prostate size (for males) and patient’s ability to void by ultrasound visualization.

We also provide diagnostic services for patients with spinal cord injury who have bladder and kidney conditions and assist with the development of management plans which may include medications, biofeedback, or surgery.

Wound Care Clinic

The SCI Wound Care Clinic offers an integrated, multidisciplinary approach for the management of chronic pressure ulcers for SCI patients. Our wound clinic team includes an SCI physician, a certified wound care nurse practitioner, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutritionist, and includes a need based consultation from our SCI Plastic Surgeon. The SCI Wound Clinic emphasizes patient and caregiver education on the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. The SCI Wound Clinic provides the following service:

  • Comprehensive assessment and evaluation of chronic wounds
  • Bed surface/wheelchair cushion/sitting evaluation
  • Mist therapy, Electronic stimulation
  • Advanced wound management with Dermagraft and Apligraft
  • Coordination with home care and community resources
  • Nutrition consult

Home Care Services

Visit the Home Care Services page for more information.