Spinal Injury Guidelines

Spinal cord injury guidelines

These guidelines have been developed for assessors, rehabilitation service providers and ACC staff, who work with clients who have a significant impairment due to a traumatic injury to the spinal cord.

Using these guidelines

These guidelines aim to increase assessors’ and rehabilitation service providers’ understanding of the typical range of supports needed by people with different levels of spinal cord injury.


This page contains terms and definitions used in the spinal cord injury guidelines.

Factors that affect attendant care

Factors that may reduce or increase the amount of attendant care required.

Recommendations for attendant care

There are sixteen sets of classifications corresponding to different types of spinal cord injury. Each type of spinal cord injury classification is linked to a description of abilities and types of assistance typically required, and the recommended total hours of human support the injured person would need.

Background to the ACC Spinal injury guidelines

These guidelines were developed from the New South Wales Motor Accidents Authority guidelines for levels of attendant care for people with spinal injuries. The guidelines were modified for a New Zealand context through consultation with expert informants through a series of workshops.

ASIA impairment scale

The ASIA impairment scale describes the person’s functional impairment as a result of their injury.

Last updated: 13 March 2014

Last reviewed: 13 March 2015