Bladder Training after SCI

Following spinal cord injury, instituting an effective bladder management program is key to ensuring optimal patient health. The overall goal is to develop a bladder management program that will allow the patient to reintegrate most easily back into the community. Specific goals include the prevention of bladder overdistention, urinary tract infections, and kidney damage. A practical bladder management program, in both the hospital and outpatient settings, is a critical component of an overall SCI management program.

The type of management program will depend on many factors. Some of them include:

The object of bladder training after SCI is to maintain the patient's bladder at the appropriate volumes for optimum overall health. Methods of bladder retraining are supplemented by monitoring fluid intake to prevent UTIs and control urine volume and concentration, developing scheduled times for urination, and using body positions to facilitate voiding.

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Specific goals of a bladder training program after SCI include prevention of bladder overdistention, urinary tract infections and kidney damage.
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Successful bladder training is an interdisciplinary function. In many spinal cord centers, nursing implements a urinary plan of care based on identified criteria. These criteria include important issues, such as level of injury and often the results of urodynamic assessments.

For ideal bladder training, the 3 disciplines of nursing, physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) work hand-in-hand.


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The best time to perform urodynamic assessment testing after spinal cord injury is during the period of spinal shock.
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The next page will offer some practical matters related to bladder management and training after SCI


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