SCI Adolescent Program

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SCI Adolescent Program


The SCI Adolescent Suites are currently being renovated to better serve our patients and their families. The suites will not be available for the next 18 months. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause families of our SCI adolescent population in terms of being able to stay next door to a son or daughter who is a patient. We have other housing on campus that is available for a reasonable fee; the MoraLee Guest Cottages and the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Guest Cottage. These renovations DO NOT impact the SCI Adolescent Program or our ability to take and care for patients in this program. Thank you for understanding. We look forward to offering patients and their families the new SCI Adolescent Suites in the future.  

SCI Adolescent Program

For a teen or adolescent a spinal cord injury is a life-altering event that comes at a crucial developmental phase of life. The SCI Adolescent Rehab program is designed to meet the unique physical, emotional and social needs of teens (ages 16 to 21 with younger patients assessed on a case-by-case basis) as they recover from a spinal cord injury. Our skilled rehab team works with your adolescent to maximize every facet of his or her recovery and independence, while helping to establish important physical and emotional skills. To help support the emotional needs and adjustments that come with a spinal cord injury our psychologists and social workers are available to both patients and their families.  Our SCI Adolescent and Family Suites are currently being renovated, please see the note at the top of this page. 

The Loft - Entertainment Space

Family Room

SCI Patient Room

Program Highlights

  • The unit's game room features an XBox One and a 42-inch flat-screen TV
  • Free wi-fi throughout our campus
  • iPads to video chat and stream entertainment
  • Expert therapists with advanced certification in adaptive technology
  • Voice-activated environmental control units allow the patient full access to their lights, tv and mobile devices
  • Onsite library and media center with diagnosis related resources and leisure materials
  • Flexible visiting hours
  • Family and peers are encouraged to participate in therapy
  • Ekso neuro-robotic suit used for walking after an SCI - the ONLY Ekso in Connecticut
  • Gaylord Sports Association - providing adaptive sports and recreation opportunities for persons with physical disabilities

Staff Expertise and Support

  • Spinal cord injury certified physiatrist (physical medicine and rehab physician)
  • Physical therapists that are Neurologic Certified Specialists (NCS)
  • Nurses that are Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurses (CRRN)
  • Specially trained adolescent clinicians
  • Working facility dog that may participate in the patient's therapy program
  • On campus support groups for the patient and family
  • The CT Spinal Cord Injury Chapter is located at Gaylord and offers peer mentors to support the patient and family
  • Academic coordination with the school system
  • Certified therapeutic recreation specialists

Frequently Asked Questions

Patients appropriate for the adolescent suites range from about 16 to 21 years old, with younger patients assessed on a case-by-case basis. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. We are generally unable to take patients younger than 15 due to their smaller body size and other needs specific to children.

The adjoining room connects to the patient room via a shared shower (each room has its own toilet and sink) and it can sleep two people. There are two, two-person loveseats in the room and each loveseat converts to a twin bed. Four adults can sit in the room during day and two can sleep there at night. There is a small refrigerator for sandwiches or drinks, but no cooking is allowed in the room. Parents or family members can stay in the room 24 hours a day for as long as the patient is at Gaylord Hospital. There is no cost for the room. Parents and visitors can get meals at the cafeteria and there are many restaurants in the area. Free wifi is available throughout the hospital.

Teenagers are still developing and trying to figure out who they are, who they want to become and how they are defined. Most teens with an SCI will be returning to school and there are adjustments in how they manage and cope with wanting to both fit in and stand out. These tensions can feel much more complicated with an SCI. Most adolescents already struggle with body image and it is important to understand how an SCI affects how they feel about themselves and their body. An SCI is usually a lifelong injury, which means there are a lot of physical and emotional adjustments. Our therapy staff as well as social workers and psychologists help teens and their families navigate these issues. One of our therapeutic recreation therapists also has training in Child Life – a specialty that helps adolescents cope with the challenges of hospitalization, illness and disability. Our goal is to equip patients with the skills and confidence to know that life can be fulfilling and that they can do many of the things they once did but with some adaptation or modifications. For example, the Gaylord Sports Association offers over 30 different adaptive sports for individuals with physical disability.

We know that being in the hospital is tough, so we offer a teen oriented diet that includes favorites such as hamburgers and pizza. But we also offer vegetarian and vegan dietary options and will work with patients to meet special needs or requests.

We will reach out to the patient’s school system and help parents coordinate as needed. Sometimes there are things a patient can’t do due to limited mobility or needing more time to recover. Our case manager can help families connect with the school and determine what is most appropriate.

The Loft is a separate hangout space across the hall from the adolescent suites. It is a non-clinical area where teens can entertain friends and family. This allows an adolescent to be an adolescent. They can watch the 42-inch flat screen television, play video games or watch movies, access all of their social media with an iPad or work at the built in desk. The room is decorated in a teen theme and has comfortable furniture. The Loft provides a teenager a sense of normalcy and allows them to entertain friends in a fun environment outside of their room.

Accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities or CARF means that our program meets or exceeds the standards CARF has set for an outstanding program. These include meeting the standards of care and expected outcomes as well as having the necessary equipment and staff training. Accreditation means that Gaylord’s SCI Program was found to be superior in meeting the CARF standards. This assures you that our program offers genuine clinical excellence that you can count on.

A spinal cord injury doesn’t just happen to the person it happens to the entire family. This often changes family dynamics and priorities and it is important for the family to understand how to help and how to be supportive and encouraging. Sometimes just the presence of a loved one inspires the patient to work harder. We always encourage family members to be involved with a patient’s rehab and therapy.

SCI Adolescent Suite Tour

Gaylord Hospital's new Spinal Cord Injury Adolescent Suites provide a bright patient room that is connected via a shared bath with a family room/suite that sleeps two. This allows family members 24 hour access to their son or daughter. There is no cost for the family suite. Having family members close by not only provides emotional support after a spinal cord injury, but also allows the family to learn how to best support and care for their son or daughter when he or she returns home. The video provides a quick tour of the patient room, family suite and The Loft - an entertainment space with a large screen tv, Xbox, video games, iPad, etc., where patients can entertain friends.

Spinal Cord Injury Program

Gaylord's Spinal Cord Injury Program offers comprehensive, integrated rehabilitation that helps maximize your abilities and guides you back to the most independent life possible. Our program draws on the expertise of a complete care team of specialists. We use the latest technologies and research to provide individualized care that focuses on the complete patient– body, mind and spirit. Above all, we help you set realistic goals and give you the skills to make the most of work, home and life.


Inpatient Admissions: (203) 284-2810

Admissions Fax: (203) 294-8701

Outpatient Appointments: (203) 284-2888

Outpatient Fax: (203) 294-8705