Nursing at the SPC
Our core areas of expertise
People with a spinal cord injury are living for longer, which means they are spending several decades in a wheelchair. In addition, there are increasing spinal cord injuries in elderly people due to illness or accidents. Treatment, rehabilitation, and advice for elderly people integrate the social network and focus on self-determination, well-being, and quality of life.
Breathing, artificial respiration, weaning
Depending on the position of the spinal cord injury, patients may find that they have trouble breathing. If this is the case, appropriate breathing therapy or artificial respiration is a must. Patients may also find that their ability to communicate or swallow is impaired. We work closely with speech therapists to offer patients expert know-how in the areas of tracheal cannula management and weaning.
At the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC), artificial respiration is available on all the wards.
Speech therapy at the SPC
Paraplegics do not have control of their bladders or bowels. Our nursing staff apply and teach a variety of customised tools and techniques, depending on the skills and abilities of the patient.
Our diabetes counsellors provide support and assistance to patients who are diagnosed with diabetes. Information, counselling and training are of the highest importance for patients with spinal cord injuries who also suffer from diabetes.
Hospital Hygiene is responsible for identifying, preventing and combatting nosocomial (acquired in the hospital) infections. Its tasks also include the formulation of measures for preventing illnesses, the maintenance and promotion of good health and the establishment of proper hygiene practices in technical areas and during the supply and disposal of waste.
Mental health plays a vital role in the recovery and rehabilitation process. At the SPC, we’re committed to attending to the diverse needs of people with mental health problems. Our customised offers and skilled professional make it possible for all our patients to benefit from comprehensive rehabilitation, even those struggling with severe mental health crises.
Two key objectives of a patient’s education are the encouragement of autonomy and the improvement of individual health literacy. SPC patients are extremely independent, and capable of making their own decisions. Our nursing staff regularly counsel and instruct patients and their relatives on issues related to self-care, including how to take responsibility for their actions and bolster their self-sufficiency.
Para Know-how offers custom training courses, both during and after a patient’s rehabilitation.
Another part of their education is peer counselling, where patients meet to offer mutual support (see the section on Para Know-how).
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At the SPC, all nursing staff are regularly trained in kinesthetics to increase their capacity to deal with the physically demanding everyday care of people with spinal cord injuries. During many procedures, such as turning patients on their sides or helping patients to sit up before a transfer, both nurses and patients benefit from the knowledge of natural human movement, and of how patients can use their own resources to play an active role in their care.
Hands and feet deserve exceptional care, which is why we only work with trained podiatrists. These specialists draw from their expertise to treat the hands and feet of patients, as well as to help patients learn the ropes of caring for their extremities in an self-sufficient and meticulous manner. In the event of complications, they can always rely on the assistance of SPC doctors and nurses, with whom they maintain close connections.
Skin and sore management
Due to heightened skin sensitivity, paraplegics are more likely to get decubitus (pressure sores). Blood circulation in affected areas can be improved by checking the skin several times per day, as well as via pressure relief exercises and the use of special cushions. The treatment of decubitus often presents a great challenge for nurses, for unless patients take preventive measures to combat the condition, the pressure sores will always reappear.
Patients with spinal cord injuries must learn new techniques for emptying their bowels. A small number of patients can benefit from the use of a stoma. If you are one of these patients, then we urge you to consult our stoma expert.