I recently attended a Spinal Injuries Association Study Day, sponsored by Slater and Gordon and chaired by Gary Dawson, Regional Peer Support Officer for Southport and the North West.
The day looked at bowel and bladder management for people with spinal cord injuries. It was an excellent day and provided me with a detailed insight into the stark reality of living with a spinal cord injury.
A serious spinal cord injury will, for many, mean that the process of ablutions that we take for granted is complex – requiring careful management and support and, in many cases, actual assistance from another person.
My fellow delegates were mostly NHS staff working with patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury.
Unusually, for me as a lawyer, I was able to sit in on their workshops whilst case studies were reviewed. The expertise, commitment and compassion shown by the health care professionals in this complex area were extremely impressive. At a time when the NHS is under so much pressure, there was no evidence that these professionals were prepared to accept anything other than the best possible care and equipment for their patients. Dignity, self-respect, empowerment, independence and quality of life were the key words. The sharing of knowledge and experience, the offers of support and training and the teamwork attitude was very much in evidence.
The Spinal Injuries Association and SIA Healthcare play a crucial role providing support from the moment of injury and for the rest of an injured person’s life. Their peer services are a vital lifeline for many newly injured people and their families as they come to terms with change. Being able to speak to other people who have been through similar situations, helping manage ongoing needs, ensuring access to appropriate care and rehabilitation and seeing that life after spinal injury can be rewarding, fulfilling and happy.
I came away from the training day better informed but also very impressed with the expertise and commitment of our NHS teams.
If you are a healthcare professional and would like to take part in one of the SIA’s Study Days, you can book online.
Carol Hopwood is s Principal Lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Liverpool, specialising in serious injury claims.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are Diamond Sponsors of the Spinal Injuries Association and Sponsors of the SIA Advice Line.
To speak with one of our spinal cord injury specialists, call us anytime 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.