Rehabilitation Medicine

Spinal Cord Injury Programs

The Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Center is committed to taking care of the acute and long-term needs of patients with spinal cord injuries. Under the leadership of Rose-Marie Faotto, PT and Laura Allen Schneider, PT, DPT, MSED, CLT, and with the help of our dedicated team of professionals, we offer several specialized inpatient and outpatient programs to help individuals with an SCI (and their caregivers) become more familiar and comfortable with life after injury.

While many participants in our program had their inpatient rehabilitation at Mount Sinai, we do welcome other patients following consultation with a Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Medicine physician. Patients who are 18 or older are eligible to attend these programs, and individuals under the age of 18 may attend with the permission of a parent or guardian.

Mount Sinai works closely with Spinal Cord Injury Foundations and Advocacy groups in the region in order to understand the needs of the community and serve our patients with a variety of program offerings.

Transitions Program

The Transitions Program at Mount Sinai’s Rehabilitation Center gives individuals who are receiving either inpatient or outpatient services the opportunity to join together in a safe and quiet environment to discuss their spinal cord injuries and the emotional issues that come with having an SCI.

Participants have to ability to connect with peers during lunch, and each session includes a guest lecturer to discuss such issues as relationships with home service providers, coping with depression, and reproductive health.

Do It! Spinal Cord Injury Program

The Do-It! Spinal Cord Injury Program helps people reconnect with the community by emphasizing health promotion, advocacy and wellness. We offer individual and group classes that focus on exercise, computer education, adjustment to disability and peer support.

We are proud to offer unique exercise classes including dancing, handcycling, boxing, weight training and functional electric stimulation (FES) cycling. Our newest class is the SCI Meditation Group. We use chair yoga, seated tai chi and qigong, breathwork, meditation, and guided imagery to help with relaxation to empower your creativity and focus while working towards a renewed sense of wellness.

Life Challenge Program

It is not uncommon for people with a spinal cord injury (SCI) to feel that the challenging activities they engaged in prior to injury, such as skiing, scuba diving and sky-diving, are now beyond their limit. However, Mount Sinai’s Life Challenge can teach them that this isn’t the case.

In local outings, day-long activity trips, and high-adventure excursions, participants with spinal cord injuries, along with family members and friends, face obstacles together. Over the last 10 years, more than 250 individuals with SCI have participated in > 85 different Life Challenge Program events.

If you are interested in attending one of the trips or would like more information, please contact Richard (Woody) Wood at richard.wood1@mountsinai.org.

The Spinal Cord Injury Peer Mentoring Program

The Spinal Cord Injury Peer Mentoring Program provides the opportunity to create relationships between recently injured individuals and those in the community who have lived with a spinal cord injury for more than two years. We do our very best to match mentors with patients who have a similar background, interests and spinal cord injury level.

Our program focuses on increasing a participant’s knowledge of their SCI, while also providing emotional support and guidance. Mentors can provide valuable insight into handling the challenges of a spinal cord injury throughout daily life.

Patients begin working with peer mentors while an inpatient on the rehabilitation unit, and continue for 6 months to a year after they have left the Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Center. We strive for our participants to build lifelong friendships that continue as they are living in the community.

Electrically Induced Lower Extremity Ergometry Program

For more than 25 years, our outpatient Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Program has been the only one of its kind in New York City. Our program offers people with a spinal cord injury an opportunity to exercise their paralyzed limbs using electrical stimulation. Electrodes are placed on arms and/or legs that stimulate the muscles and enable individuals with spinal cord injuries to use an upper- or lower-extremity bicycle.

Treatment benefits include:

  • Improving cardiovascular status, emotional well-being, and range of motion
  • Increasing bone density and circulation to stimulated areas of the body
  • Preventing or slowing down muscle atrophy (also known as muscle deterioration)
  • Relaxing spastic muscles

These devices are integrated into physical and occupational therapy and are also available for use by persons who wish to self-pay to use them after receiving a referral from a physician and have been found to be an appropriate candidate by the screening therapist.

Caregiver Support Group

Not all of our outpatient programs are only for individuals with spinal cord injuries. A caregiver is anyone who, on a regular basis, provides care for their loved ones. This can be a parent, guardian, spouse, sibling, or friend. Our Caregiver Support Group is a space where caregivers can come and openly share and express themselves with others that have similar experiences.

To learn more about our SCI Community Reintegration Programs, click here