Spine treatment isn't one size fits all. At the Spine Institute, we work closely with you and with each other to understand your condition and create a treatment plan that matches your needs and lifestyle.
We work as a team on each phase and aspect of your care. Here's what you can expect:
- An initial assessment. When you first come to the Spine Institute, a provider (or sometimes two) will work with you (and with your primary care provider as needed) to understand your previous care and your reasons for coming to the Institute. The provider will consult with others at the Spine Institute to evaluate your case and assemble a team suited to your needs. This is often called the "triage" process.
- Interdisciplinary care. We may recommend that you see more than one provider at the Spine Institute. There are several reasons for this. First, we may need a range of medical perspectives to build a complete picture of your problem and treatment options. Second, you may need to see different providers at different stages of your care. Or, your care may require more than one type of treatment at a time - and thus more than one specialist to give it.
- Care management. A nurse or other provider (often called the triage or case manager) will coordinate all your care at the Spine Institute. Thanks to this coordination, everyone on your spine care team will have the full story of your problem.
- Communication. You are the most important person on your spine care team. Throughout your treatment at the Spine Institute, we'll do our best to explain our processes and give you the information you need to make decisions and help care for yourself. We welcome your questions and suggestions - in fact, we depend on them to help us work well with you and your family.
Your Spine Care Team
The Spine Institute includes people from different specialties working together to help diagnose and treat you. Here are a few of the people who may be on your spine care team:
- Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants. These experts can help assess your condition and coordinate your care. Working with the rest of your team, they can also directly provide much of the care you'll receive at the Institute.
- Doctors. Your team may include doctors specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, radiology, pain management, or behavioral medicine. If surgery looks like it may be an option for you, your team will include a neurosurgeon. Your primary care doctor is also involved - your spine team will consult with your “regular” doctor as needed.
- Physical Therapists. Spine treatment often requires the help of these specialists. Their expertise is creating individualized programs to help improve or restore strength, flexibility, movement, and function.
The triage process is critical to the successful navigation of patients to the correct care provider. The registered nurse who functions in this role will be your personal guide. He/she will be involved in the care process from beginning to end. In concert with the physical therapist, the triage coordinator will gather initial information and work with your primary care provider to ensure that you are ready for the specialized services that the Spine Institute provides.
The triage manager will use the information gathered to create an individualized treatment plan. She will decide which team members can best address your specific spine disorder. At appropriate times in the care process, information can be provided to you, your primary care physician or workman's compensation case manager.