This study evaluated time out of bed as (a) a means of documenting spinal cord patients' physical and psychological status and (b) a predictor of complications. Sixty spinal cord injured patients admitted to a physical rehabilitation hospital for comprehensive rehabilitation were subjects. An electronic device, the Rest Time Monitor (RTM), measured time spent out of bed. Medical records provided information on significant events. Patterns of time out of bed quantitatively documented the occurrence of several medical complications and emotional upsets. Patients who experienced infections spent less time out of bed prior to onset than did control patients. Time out of bed can be used by clinical staff and researchers to document the physical and psychological status of the patients and potentially to predict the onset of some complications.