Urological Care of the Spinal Cord–Injured Patient

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Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a catastrophic occurrence affecting the lives of 11,000 people in the United States every year. Urologic complications account for much of the morbidity associated with SCI and as much as 15% of the associated mortality. Spinal cord–injured patients are required to digest a plethora of self-management information during the emotionally and psychologically distressing period immediately following their injury. As a vital resource in the SCI patients' recovery process, it is crucial for the WOC nurse to have knowledge of the specialized needs of this population. This article reviews the effects of SCI on bladder function, discusses potential complications of the neurogenic bladder, and provides an overview of management options to assist the patient in adaptation and restoration of quality of life.

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