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Spinal Cord Injury or Disorder (SCI/D): Your Annual Exam

In addition to the regular visits you have with your SCI/D team, you should have an annual exam at your nearest SCI Center every year. This exam is also called a comprehensive preventive health evaluation (CPHE) or "wellness check." The focus of the exam is to evaluate your health and function. It will help find problems early to catch or prevent serious health issues. You will also receive supportive services to help you manage any changes in your life. This page tells you more about what to expect during your annual exam.

Meeting with your team

Your exam will be scheduled over one or more days. The length of time will vary depending on your health needs. Your exam team will include many providers, such as doctors and nurses. You'll also meet with therapists, dietitians, psychologists, and social workers. Keep in mind that you are the key member of this team. Take time during the exam to mention any problems or concerns you have. Also be sure to ask any questions you have and get the answers you need.

The basic exam

The annual exam covers the major aspects of your health. It includes:

  • A review of your health history and discussion of any new health problems you may have.

  • A complete physical exam to check for problems throughout your body. This includes your head, neck, heart, lungs, abdomen, strength, sensation, joints, brain, nerves, spinal cord, and spine.

  • Tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, and imaging tests. Tests of organs, such as the heart and lungs, may also be done.

  • An assessment of any pain that you have and how that pain is being managed.

  • An assessment of your skin with attention to wounds, if needed.

  • A review of spinal cord injury specific health concerns, such as how to treat autonomic dysreflexia and how to address issues of sexuality and fertility.

  • A review of medications and supplies, and renewal as needed.A review of your immunization history and administration of any needed shots. This can include flu or pneumonia shots.

  • Preventive screening tests, as indicated, such as cholesterol and blood sugar tests.

Additional services

You will also receive services to help you manage any day-to-day concerns you have. These often include:

  • An assessment of your function, including mobility and activities of daily living, to identify physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) needs. This includes:

    • A discussion of exercise and rehabilitation needs or new functional goals

    • Identification and treatment of worsening function

    • An evaluation of tools and equipment needs (including routine, recommended, or needed maintenance or repair)

    • An assessment of your wheelchair and cushion

    • A reevaluation of home modifications

  • An assessment of mental health issues. This includes:

    • Problems with stress

    • Depression and anxiety

    • Use of drugs or alcohol

  • An assessment of diet and nutrition. This includes:

    • An evaluation of diet and eating habits

    • Discussion of any nutrition-related problems, such as weight gain, pressure ulcers, diabetes, and heart disease

  • A meeting with a social worker to discuss topics, such as:

    • Benefits

    • Caregiver support and attendant training needs

    • Emergency and life-care planning

  • A meeting with a vocational counselor to discuss return-to-work issues

  • A meeting with someone trained in therapeutic recreation to discuss leisure and avocational activities


You'll be notified when the results of your annual exam are available. If you have pressing health issues that need to be addressed, your SCI Center will provide the necessary care and referrals.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 11/1/2020
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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