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Spinal cord injuries (SCI) obviously have devastating consequences. If the spinal cord has been severed completely, all motor control of the body below the point of injury is lost. It is also possible to have an incomplete severance. In these cases, some control over the body below the point of injury is retained but there will still be loss of strength, co-ordination and mobility. In virtually all cases, there are emotional and social impacts in addition to the physical losses.

Patients will usually spend a prolonged time in hospital after a spinal cord injury. When they are released it is important that the proper support be put in place to ensure that they can function as well as possible. We work with the doctors and ICBC to ensure that home and vehicle modifications are made, and services such as housekeeping, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other necessary treatments are arranged once the our client returns home.

Since most SCI are the product of extremely violent events, traumatic brain injuries are often sustained with the SCI. The brain injuries may be obvious, but in other cases are more subtle. Doctors will tend to focus on the most obvious injuries in the early stages of recovery so often subtle brain injuries are not diagnosed until much later. If the medical records reveal the possibility that a brain injury also occurred, we will ensure that the appropriate experts assess whether a brain injury should be diagnosed. Where a patient has both SCI and a brain injury, they face even more challenges.

The needs of a spinal cord client will continue for a lifetime. They may or may not ever be able to return to work. We retain experts who will assess the cost of care for the rest of the client’s lifetime. It is essential that future costs are estimated correctly as a shortfall could impact our client’s health, independence and well being.

Currently there is no treatment for spinal cord injury that can restore function. Doctors are continuing to study in this area and we hope that someday medicine will offer our SCI clients the ability to regain the full use of their bodies.