Staff working at this Centre understand that Spinal Cord Injury is a significant life changing event – however, we do not accept that it is life limiting.
We believe that your time spent within the Spinal Cord Injuries Centre is the beginning of a new journey.
The main philosophy of the Centre is to offer you support and information that enables you to have normal relationships and to live your life as independently and as complication free as possible.
Life does go on and it can be just as rich and fulfilling as it was before.
Your first few weeks after discharge
Despite all the preparation, it is common to feel overwhelmed when you first leave the Centre.
To help you cope during this time:
- Use the daily self-care skills you learned during rehabilitation. These are the tasks you need to do every day to keep your body healthy.
- Follow your treatment care plan, including bowel and bladder care, transfers, and taking medicines.
- When you face a new task or situation, remember how you managed challenges during your initial recovery.
- Take large tasks and break them into smaller, more reasonable goals. As you reach each goal, set a new one. In this way, you will build the skills you need to face even the biggest challenge.
- Stay positive. Take note of every success, met goal, and move in the right direction, no matter how small. Think of these anytime you feel discouraged.
After you are discharged, our Outpatient and Community Liaison services offer lifelong follow up and support to help to keep you well, to problem solve when things go wrong and to avoid complications
We have excellent links with partner organisations such as Back up, Aspire, Wheelpower and the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) which can provide useful networks and support for those with a spinal cord injury, both while you are an inpatient and after discharge. Click here for more information.
Sexuality and Parenting
Even though it is a key element of meaningful human relationships, sexuality can be a taboo subject. Your sexuality is what guides you in how you relate to others through friendship, love, affection, and intimacy.
Spinal Cord Injury can sometimes impact how you think and feel about yourself and your roles and relationships. Loss of movement or sensation does not devalue you as a person or change the fact that you are a desirable sexual being.
You are more likely to feel desirable and want to fully express your sexuality if you understand your body and feel comfortable with yourself and your personal identity.
Although having a Spinal Cord Injury can make the process of conceiving more challenging, it doesn’t affect your ability to be a good parent.
Employment and Vocational Support
Many people return to their previous jobs, whilst others use the opportunity to retrain for a new profession, start new hobbies or take up voluntary work.
As part of your rehabilitation, the Occupational Therapy team can discuss your vocation and offer support and advice on returning to a vocation post-spinal cord injury. The Occupational Therapy team run regular vocational clinics, working closely with the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) Vocational Support Officer. This provides an opportunity to discuss your return to work, education, training or volunteering. Your local SIA peer support officer will also provide on-going support post-discharge.
Going on Holiday
To the uninitiated, the prospect of going on holiday can seem daunting. It’s normal to have fears about the unfamiliar. Of course, going on holiday may not be quite as straightforward as for those without SCI, but with the right support and planning it can become a reality.
If you have concerns about planning a future holiday, whilst receiving care at the Centre, you can speak to your Occupational Therapist.
SIA has gathered a wealth of information to help you plan for a holiday - Spinal Injuries Association – Taking holidays
Bard Care guide: Can I still go on holiday? An Insider's guide to travel with spinal cord injury