On World Spinal Cord Injury day today (5th September), we take a moment to shine a light on the importance of supporting people in their rehabilitation journey.
World Spinal Cord Injury day is marked on the 5 September and hopes to create a spinal cord injury inclusive world. The World Health Organisation (WHO), together with the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) have joined forces and this year’s theme is prevention.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) and the following paralysis has a life changing effect. Injuries can be caused via trauma, during sports for example or in non-traumatic ways, sometimes as a result of medical conditions or infection.
In the UK there are approximately 40,000 people who have sustained a spinal cord injury and each year 1,000 people become injured.
Livability’s work in the field of spinal cord injury is focused on rehabilitation. The charity has a specialist team that provides spinal cord injury rehabilitation advice and expertise, overseas and in the UK.
Internationally, Livability’s expert team work to build capacity in developing countries responding to spinal cord injury. Working with projects in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Livability International has a 20-year strong reputation. Collaborating with the World Health Organisation, national government departments and key health networks, Livability International has created a range of strategic alliances and educational tools to improve spinal care and community outcomes. The team worked closely to support the Spinal Cord Injury Centre in Nepal, in the aftermath of the devastating Nepal Earthquake in 2015.
In recent months, Livability have also been cementing spinal injury expertise in the UK, with the development of a new spinal injury centre in Dorset. Livability’s Spinal Injury centre provides a range of services that enable people who have sustained spinal cord injury to transition smoothly through their rehabilitation journey.
Building on rehabilitation skills learnt in specialist NHS SCI services; visitors to the centre will be able to receive practical support from the professional team, equipping them for life beyond their injury. As a residential setting, Livability’s accessible centre helps visitors rebuild strength and fitness as well as providing advice in finding accessible housing, employment and vocational training or wellbeing and psychological care. The service works to help the people with SCI get their lives back on track. Set in the grounds of Livability Holton Lee, a wellbeing discovery centre set in 350 acres of beautiful countryside, the facilities were opened by HRH The Princess Royal in 2016.
The focus that Livability brings to the world of spinal cord injury, is on rehabilitation. But the team are clear that prevention awareness is so vital. Manager of Livability’s Spinal Cord Injury Centre, Fiona Stephenson reflects on what Spinal Cord Injury day means:
“Accidents happen all the time, however, unfortunately some are catastrophic. Adapting to a new life after a spinal cord injury is a very difficult journey – it really is a life changing injury for the person and their family and friends. The accounts from people we support relating to how their injury occurred can be surprising; falling, diving into a swimming pool, leaning too far when climbing a ladder. I really hope that the World Spinal Cord Injury day, with its ‘prevention’ theme, will make a difference, highlighting the risks and dangers we take for granted as ‘normal practice’ every day. To stop one more spinal cord injury from happening would be fantastic.”