The ABC’s of SCI – Standing Up For Your Needs After Spinal Cord Injury
When a catastrophic event occurs, we look to the survivors. We aspire to join those who beat the odds and emerged stronger than before, despite the challenges they faced. It can seem that they intuitively knew how to place themselves on the path of healing success. When faced with a spinal cord injury (SCI), the options can feel bleak. Individuals who successfully achieve their rehabilitative and mobility goals benefit from being prepared with the language, and the resources, they need in order to ask the right questions to their clinical team and uncover solutions they never thought possible. In this blog post, we’ll explore the ABC’s of SCI that can empower patients and caregivers with tools to help explore possibilities and create new healing success stories.
A – Ask the right questions. Spinal Cord Injury Levels matter. Understanding the spinal cord is a key factor in identifying what options may be available to an SCI patient. The spinal cord is protected by a layer of stacked bones called Vertebrae which are divided into three main sections, the Cervical Vertebrae, Thoracic Vertebrae, and Lumbar Vertebrae. As the caregiver of a newly injured SCI person, it is important to ask the clinical team at what level the spinal cord was injured, and whether the injury was complete or incomplete based upon the ASIA Impairment Scale or AIS score. The answer to these questions will provide more clear direction to the goals of an individualized spinal cord injury rehabilitation program, and whether a personal exoskeleton may be a potential option to regain mobility and ambulatory function a at home and in the community.
B – Be the best advocate. Before settling for a wheelchair only, for you or a loved one, ask if there are other solutions that should be evaluated first. If medically appropriate, options like the ReWalk Personal Exoskeleton can be a great addition to an individual’s long term plan of care. The ReWalk Exoskeleton is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that enables individuals with SCI to stand upright, walk, and turn, and is designed for all day use at home and in the community. Medically appropriate US Veterans, in particular, are eligible for exoskeleton evaluation and robotics training, rehabilitation services, along with a long list of comprehensive care services for SCI through their VA benefits. Visit www.sci.va.gov for a complete list. If an evaluation at a VA SCI/D Hub is not convenient, Veterans may also be able to utilize the VA Community Care Network to find providers in local communities that work with the VA to provide evaluation and training services for Veterans with SCI who want to explore exoskeleton technology. To find a Community Care Network provider near you, visit Find VA Locations | Veterans Affairs.
C – Connect with other caregivers and patients with SCI. Learning to adapt to a new lifestyle after suffering a traumatic spinal cord injury can be isolating for both patients and their caregivers. Caregiver burnout is reality, and a strong support network is critical to successful rehabilitation after SCI. There are a number of patient organizations, including the Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA), that specifically offer Caregiver Support (pva.org). In addition, our own ReWalk community also continues to grow. Currently, there are more than 600 ReWalk devices in use around the world, and our Personal Care team ensures they are supported with every step. If you believe that you know someone who may qualify for an Exoskeleton, and are having difficulty coordinating an evaluation, visit rewalk.com/contact to reach out. A member of our Personal Care team will be happy to help!
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