The Baxter International Foundation has awarded a grant of £50,200 to Back Up, a leading spinal cord injury charity. The grant will fund a new Outreach and Support Families Co-ordinator position, and sustain it, for the next two years. This is their first post which focuses on families, and will be part of a team which also offers support to spinal cord injured individuals. The person hired for this new position will be a first point of contact for family members, providing much needed support and advice. This, in turn, will enable families to better support their injured partner, parent, sibling, or child.
Many family members suffer feelings of depression and isolation after the injury of a loved one. Back Up’s research shows that 33% of parents are clinically depressed, and 76% of siblings experience feelings of neglect and isolation. By supporting these family members, they’re also indirectly supporting the rehabilitation of the injured person. This new grant will make a real difference to the lives of everyone affected by spinal cord injury.
“With this new role which is funded by the Baxter International Foundation grant, we will be able to connect with families as soon as possible after their loved one has a spinal cord injury,” said Andy Masters, head of Back Up’s Outreach and Support services. “At this point, many family members feel guilty about asking for help because they feel the focus should be on their injured loved one. Our new Family Outreach and Support co-ordinator, who will have personal experience of spinal cord injury, will be there to provide support and advice as well as linking them through to our other specialist services.”
Back Up recognized the need to support families ten years ago when they set up their family mentoring service. This service, matches a family member of someone with spinal cord injury with a trained volunteer in a similar situation. The volunteer mentors, who are trained by clinical psychologists, can offer advice and support from their own personal experience. Many have found this support to be invaluable, allowing them to talk openly with someone who can truly understand, and giving them the support they need to move forwards.
‘‘Baxter has a long history of providing essential healthcare products for patients in hospitals, clinics and homes across the world, ensuring everyone gets the care they need. This is reflected in our commitment to improve access to healthcare for all, and we strongly believe that should extend to family members too.’’ said Andy Goldney, General Manager, UK, Ireland and Nordic.