Plans for developing the support the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) provides for spinal cord injured people and their families have been announced this morning. The user-led charity is focusing their Peer Support Service on post hospital discharge support. This means that the service, which can be a lifeline for spinal cord injured people, will be available in their own homes as well as in the specialist Spinal Cord Injuries Centres, District General Hospitals and Neurological Rehab Centres.
The news was announced as the charity launched their Lifelines for life campaign, which aims to fill a gap in the care pathway for newly spinal cord injured people by offering them ongoing support at home following discharge from hospital. It is hoped that with this latest development to its Peer Support service, the Spinal Injuries Association will be able to help newly injured people overcome feelings of isolation often experienced post-discharge that can sap confidence and lessen the motivation to adapt and live independently. People like Richard who, despite being injured two years ago, is confined to his living room and has only left the house a handful of times. Or like Tom, who has to travel seven miles every day just to use accessible toilet and washing facilities.
Acting CEO and Director of Services, Bernie Murphy says of the development: “Pressures on the Health Service mean that people injured today are either getting less and less time in specialist Spinal Cord Injuries centres or, in the case of those with non-traumatic injuries, do not get admitted to specialist Centres at all. This can mean that people leave hospital before they’ve truly come to terms with the impact that such an injury will have on the rest of their lives. In taking our existing support beyond the confines of the hospital setting we aim to extend the reach and impact of our Peer Support service by continuing to provide much-needed emotional support and practical advice to newly injured people once at home. The fact this ongoing support is being provided by a team of people who themselves have first-hand experience of living with spinal cord injury does, we believe, make it all the more valuable and will have greater resonance with those being supported.”
Spinal cord injury is life-changing. It often leads to paralysis of limbs and can affect other aspects of a person’s health, such as bladder and bowel management, blood pressure control and temperature regulation. The Spinal Injuries Association is dedicated to helping spinal cord injured people rebuild their lives with life-long services that support a person’s physical, emotional, psychological and social needs.
Find out more about the Spinal Injuries Association’s Lifelines for life campaign and their Peer Support Service at www.spinal.co.uk