Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week

*Click on Italic words and sentences for sources.

It’s Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week and this year’s theme is Accessibility Equals Opportunity. Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week aims to raise public awareness about the implications and potential effects of these types of injuries on individuals’ lives. It also seeks to inform people about different disabilities and how to make an environment more accessible for the disabled. Spinal cord injury awareness is an issue that many people are unaware of, and most people do not realize the difficulties of living with a spinal cord injury. Many people are unaware of how to help those with spinal cord injuries. The disabled are often overlooked by many in our communities. Here at Grace Healthcare – Your Care Your Way, we endeavor to learn more, and we are committed to sharing our knowledge about the participants that we love and support. The knowledge can allow us to support all people with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate and contribute to their local communities.

What is Spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injury or SCI is a significant injury that causes permanent damage to the spinal cord. SCI causes paralysis and loss of sensation below the level of injury. The severity of the injury can vary from transient to total paralysis.

The spinal cord is an important central nervous system component for transmitting signals between the brain and peripheral nerves. Depending on which structures are damaged, SCI will cause a total or partial loss of function in some areas below its level. Complete or incomplete is determined based on whether or not the injured person remains conscious after impact with an object. A complete spinal cord injury occurs when all of these nerves are severed. An incomplete one refers to an injury where only a few nerves were severed and some intact sensory and motor functions. 

Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

There are many reasons why spinal cord injuries happen, including car accidents, sports-related injuries, child abuse, gunshot wounds, and more. A spinal cord injury can also be because of complications during childbirth or an illness that causes paralysis or partial paralysis. In Australia, statistics from the 2017-2018 REPORT suggest that the leading causes of traumatic SCI were road transport crashes, followed by falls.  The highest percentage of cases were males, with a ratio of 4:1 to females.

Living with a Spinal Cord Injury

When we hear that we have a spinal cord injury, we often think of the limitations that will follow. While it’s true that spinal cord injury patients face many challenges, the truth is that most spinal cord injury patients do not experience any of the limitations after their injury. Many of the limitations that we hear about regularly, such as those from the lower limbs, don’t affect most spinal cord injury patients. Some people have the misconception that all people with spinal cord injuries are paralyzed. But they might still have some sensation and movement in their body parts below the level of the injury.

However, people with spinal cord injuries live in a different world, where they have to take different precautions due to their disability. The most important thing for people with spinal cord injury is to keep themselves as safe as possible. They need to be aware of their surroundings since they can’t always rely on balance or motor skills. They may also struggle to get around or maintain independence due to reduced mobility. Many will need lifelong assistance for daily tasks like bathing or dressing because their hands are unusable for these tasks.

Rehabilitation is an essential aspect of living with a spinal cord injury. It’s necessary to move the legs and arms to maintain muscle strength and recover from inactivity. It’s also essential to use respiratory muscles, which can be done by coughing or breathing deeply and forcefully. It’s crucial to attend physical therapy sessions and medical appointments for upkeep and recovery treatments like surgery, injections, and other treatments for certain conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Living with a spinal cord injury is possible if you take care of your body and make sure that it doesn’t become inactive over time – but also should not aggravate your injury or try to do more than you are able in the beginning. It is also essential to talk to someone who has lived through the same experience. Many support groups are willing to help you navigate your way forward.

NDIS benefits

Participants with Spinal Cord Injury have the highest average plan values across all disabilities. The booklet below is a fantastic guide to help you understand how to access the NDIS, whether you are still in the hospital or already at home.

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How to support people with Spinal Cord Injury in your community

The most crucial step to support friends, family, and people living with spinal cord injury in your community is to educate yourself first. Find articles like this one, brochures, and any resources with spinal cord injury and read. The next step is to be aware of the participants in your community and whether they have access to information on moving around safely—support participants by prioritizing entering elevators, public transportation, and events.

As this year’s theme goes: ACCESSIBILITY EQUALS OPPORTUNITY. An accessible environment should have ramps and elevators, wide doorways and hallways, accessible parking spots, and accurate accessibility information that people can easily acquire. Hence, giving people with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate and contribute to their local communities.

Here at Grace Healthcare YCYW, we are incredibly proud to support and care for our Spinal Cord Injury participants and raise awareness within our community. If you would like to know more and join us – call or emails us. You are also welcome to leave feedback or encouraging words in the comments below.

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