Spinal Cord Injury Support Group

Madonna's SCI support group meets in the evening at 6 p.m. quarterly and twice a month at 3 p.m. For more information, contact Diane Ulmer at 402.413.3185.

Peer Support

If you are like many people who have experienced a catastrophic injury or illness, your transition to rehabilitation is new territory for you. To help you through the next few steps on your journey, it might be helpful to visit with someone who experienced a similar injury or illness and has been through rehabilitation.

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital's Peer Volunteer Program matches individuals who have completed rehabilitation with people who are just starting the process of rehabilitation for the purpose of sharing meaningful life experiences and providing hope for the future.

Peer Volunteers contribute in a number of ways, including:

  • Sharing information regarding the Madonna rehabilitation experience with individuals who are considering admission to Madonna, and/or their family members. They can answer questions about their day to day experiences from the perspective of the patient and/or family member.

  • Visiting individually with a patient and/or family member while they are an inpatient or outpatient at Madonna. Specially trained Peer Volunteers listen to your concerns, share their experiences, and provide encouragement and support.

Informational Websites for SCI

At Madonna, our philosophy is to empower the people we serve so they might better understand their injury and become a self- advocate, particularly regarding personal health care needs.

For more information on SCI anatomy, physiology and common issues associated with SCI including health and wellness, state-specific support groups, respite care, and other resources visit:

Nebraska Specific:

Kansas Specific:

Iowa Specific:

Missouri Specific:

Non-State Specific resources for SCI:

Helpful Terminology:

The following are a few terms health care professionals may use in the beginning stages of rehabilitation. We encourage individuals to use their rehabilitation team as a resource to learn more.

  • ASIA Score: The ASIA is standardized neurological examination endorsed by the American Spinal Injury Association. The exam gives the rehabilitation team information about the sensory and motor levels which were affected by the spinal cord injury. The results of the ASIA exam helps the team set functional goals together based on the neurological level of injury that is determined. Elements on the Asia Scale include:

    A Complete: No sensory or motor function is preserved in sacral segments S4-S5.
    B Incomplete: Sensory, but not motor, function is preserved below the neurologic level and extends through sacral segments S4-S5.
    C Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurologic level, and most key muscles below the neurologic level have muscle grade less than 3.
    D Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurologic level, and most key muscles below the neurologic level have muscle grade greater than or equal to 3.
    E Normal: Sensory and motor functions are normal

  • Autonomic Dysreflexia: ADR is a condition caused by a noxious stimulus below the level of injury causing the nervous system to react in a way which causes the blood pressure to rise to a dangerous level. A few common causes of ADR are, but not limited to, a full bladder, full bowel, pressure sores, or any pain. A few signs of ADR include but are not limited to, high blood pressure, pounding headache, flushed face, sweating above the level of injury, slow pulse, and/or "goose bumps". ADR is treated by finding and removing the cause. The individual should sit up immediately when experiencing symptoms of ADR. Medical professionals should be consulted for alternative treatments to assist in resolving autonomic dysreflexia and control blood pressure if signs continue.

    Prevention of skin breakdown is very important and becomes a big part of the daily routine in rehab. Pressure relief over bony prominences can be done by repositioning the body every 15-30 minutes when in a sitting position and at least every 2 hours when in bed. Pressure relief prevents skin breakdown and pressure ulcers from forming. The rehab team educates each patient and his/her family and friends on the technique most adequate for them to get pressure relief.

    Source: Yes You Can! A guide to self-care for persons with Spinal Cord Injury, Fourth Edition, Paralyzed Veterans of America 2009

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital
5401 South St.
Lincoln, NE 68506
Phone: (402) 413-3000
Toll-Free: (800) 676-5448