Rehabilitation following a Spinal cord injury is a very different proposition from when I last worked on a spinal unit. Whilst this clearly shows I am getting older it also highlights the challenges faced by spinal units and its patients. Lengths of stay have reduced significantly and it not unusual for appropriate rehabilitation goals for a cervical injury being completed within a 16 week period compared with 28 weeks in the 1990’s.
This may well evidence better use of resources, a more finely tuned and effective rehabilitation team and a more focussed and dynamic approach to rehabilitation. It could however reflect the increasing pressure on spinal units to utilise their available beds in a way that whilst ensuring access for as many as possible may result in a more difficult and complex transition into the community for the patient. Transfer to local district general hospitals, nursing homes and other rehabilitation centres are not uncommon.
As a specialist care provider with extensive spinal cord injury experience we at TCC Ltd are confident that we can successfully manage clients who have not yet fully adjusted to their injury and need time and support to enable them to become empowered and self-directing individuals. However for those who cannot access specialist services and are reliant on generic care agencies the future may be less positive. The Spinal Injuries Association has recognised the need for increased support for those who require support in the community and in hospital settings and their Outreach team provide an invaluable service for those who may not ever reach a spinal centre and for those who require ongoing support and assistance. It is evident however that this service will need to expand to meet the needs of the spinal population if increased resources are not provided to spinal injuries centres to enable them to effectively rehabilitate their patients. TCC Ltd is committed to support the work of the Outreach team and our sponsorship of the newly injured packs provided by the team illustrates this commitment.
Chris Freestone - Director, Total Community Care