Online Course
Respiratory Management Following a Spinal Cord Injury
Gain the knowledge to improve breathing and coughing for your patients with a SCI

1-1.5 hours





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Melanie Harding (Skeen)
Course instructor

Melanie has considerable experience in spinal cord rehabilitation, both as a clinician and a tutor

Course instructor

Learning, Acting and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems

Course image - Respiratory Management Following a Spinal Cord Injury
Summarising the latest research & evidence
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Respiratory dysfunction is one of the most common medical complications in individuals with a spinal cord injury. Physiotherapists can implement preventive strategies to reduce complications of inadequate ventilation following spinal cord injury. Early physiotherapy management can influence the function of all systems involved in normal respiration, including the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and integumentary systems. The physiotherapy assessment is key to finding problems and choosing appropriate strategies to improve the patient’s ventilation. These techniques include positioning, secretion mobilisation, specialised breathing techniques, stretching and soft tissue release, respiratory muscle training and early mobilisation. Patient and caregiver education occurs in every phase of the post-spinal cord injury rehabilitation programme.


This course aims to present a comprehensive review of the physiotherapist's role in the respiratory management of individuals with a spinal cord injury.


This course is made up of videos, reading, forum posts and a final quiz. The course content is split into the following sections:

  1. Video
  2. Reading activity
  3. Quiz

Target audience

This programme is aimed at rehabilitation professionals, students and assistants including but not limited to Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Rehabilitation Doctors, Rehabilitation Nurses, Prosthetists, Orthotists, Psychologists, Audiologists, Dietetics, Social Workers. Community Health Workers, Nurses or Medical Doctors interested in this subject are also invited to participate.


Hours of Learning - No deadlines are applied to this course and it can be started and completed in your own time according to your personal schedule. We expect the required elements to take around 1-1.5 hours depending on your schedule and learning style. Additionally there are many optional resources provided and if you choose to review these the course could take longer to complete.
Types of Activities - Reading Physiopedia pages, journal articles, book chapters. Watching videos. Attempting quizzes. Participating in an international discussion forum.
Certificates - At the end of the course, when you have completed all of the required elements, you will be able to download a certificate of completion and 1.1 Plus points will be added to your personalised learning dashboard.

Requirements to complete this course

In order to complete this course and receive a course completion certificate plus CEUs/CCUs/CPD points you will need to:

  1. Respect the Plus Community Culture.
  2. Log all the required learning activities as complete (represented by the orange icons!).
  3. Actively and appropriately participate in the course discussions.
  4. Pass a final quiz with a score of 80% or more.
  5. Complete a course evaluation form.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • describe the principles of normal respiration
  • discuss respiratory deficiencies and complications following a spinal cord injury
  • explain elements of respiratory management during the acute phase of spinal cord injury
  • design appropriate therapeutic interventions for an individual with respiratory deficiencies following a spinal cord injury based on a case scenario
Featured reviews
The way Melanie Harding explained respiratory management, along with short video clips, was so informative, especially for tetraplegic and high-level paraplegic patients! Thank you, Plus for providing such an opportunity to learn.
Ijaz Ul Haq
This course is fantastic for anyone looking to progress their career in SCI management!
Oluwakemi Ladipo-Fowora
This course looked at the systems involved in normal respiration, respiration sequence, muscles of ventilation, spinal cord injury and its impact on respiration and physiotherapy interventions.
Iyapuleni Ndinelao Lawanifwa Mbidi
This course is going to be very useful in my day-to-day job!