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National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville awarded international accreditation for excellence

| December 24, 2014

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust continues to be the only NHS Trust in the UK to hold the coveted CARF international accreditation for excellence in the care of spinal cord injury patients.

The award comes after a recent review of services at the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC), Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

First awarded in 2008, this is the third time that the NSIC has applied for and been accredited with the ‘gold seal’ from the internationally recognised Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), providing them with the highest level of accreditation for the maximum three year period, running until October 2017.

The NSIC’s paediatric service, among the first of its kind in the country, remains the only children’s spinal injury service to be recognised with CARF accreditation in Europe.

CARF is an independent body that evaluates standards in rehabilitation care around the world.

This prestigious accolade follows rigorous evaluation by assessors who visited the NSIC in November 2014. They looked at all aspects of the rehabilitation programme for patients staying in hospital and those attending as outpatients.

The NSIC offers inpatient and outpatient care to adults, children and young people with spinal cord injuries. These injuries can result from trauma such as road traffic accidents or falls, and also non-traumatic causes. The centre treats patients from across England, as well as abroad, who spend on average six months undergoing intensive rehabilitation to help rebuild their lives

Assessors from CARF commended the NSIC on many aspects of its service, including its innovative use of sport in rehabilitation – the centre was the first in the country to introduce this as part of patients’ overall care programmes, a commitment which led to the first ever Paralympic Games staged at the hospital in 1948.

The rehabilitation programme focuses on enabling patients of all ages to be independent in all areas of their care, improving lost strength and stamina, and gaining knowledge from experienced staff and peer support. Each patient’s rehabilitation package is tailor-made, with goals influenced by what each patient identifies is important to them.

NSIC operations manager, Claire Guy, led the accreditation review and said: ‘Our care is very much based on a holistic and individual patient-centred approach. We use a wide range of therapies, expertise, specialist equipment and programmes including arts and sport, all of which contribute to making the patients’ pathway to independence as smooth as possible.

The accreditation process involved patients, families and staff at all levels and across organisations and we are very proud to have satisfied this stringent, thorough review. To be recognised by CARF at an international level has given us the confidence and passion to further develop our patient-centred services and continue to make quality improvements.

Chief Executive Anne Eden said: ‘We are thrilled to receive this endorsement, which provides a platform on which to build services for, and with, our patients to ensure the NSIC continues to be at the forefront of spinal cord injury care in the UK and recognised internationally as a centre of excellence.

She continued: ‘This demonstrates our commitment to providing outstanding care that is focused on our patients’ needs and continuous improvement.

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