Life After a Spinal Cord Injury: Support Systems and Resources
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a life-altering event and it can take time to adjust to a new quality of life. Fortunately, there are many support systems and resources in Philadelphia that victims can take advantage of to improve their strength, mobility, and outlook.
One of the foundational pillars of post-SCI life is a team of dedicated healthcare professionals. Philadelphia has institutions such as Magee Rehabilitation Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital that have garnered national recognition for their expertise in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. These centers offer a continuum of care, from acute treatment to long-term rehabilitation, providing individuals with access to cutting-edge therapies and a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.
The emotional impact of a spinal cord injury can be profound. This is where peer support groups become invaluable. For example:
Educational, recreational, and supportive resources are offered for individuals with SCIs and teir families or friends.
Two support groups are offered, one for individuals with an SCI and their caregivers and another for women living with an SCI.
A support group for families of individuals who have suffered an SCI with mentors who have successfully transitioned to living with a loved one with a disability.
Connecting with others who have faced similar challenges offers a unique source of empathy, camaraderie, and practical advice. Sharing experiences and triumphs with fellow SCI survivors can be an empowering source of strength, reminding individuals that they are not alone in their journey toward recovery.
Technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of life for individuals with SCI. Wheelchairs, mobility aids, and adaptive equipment are tailored to specific needs, enabling greater independence in daily activities. Home modifications, such as ramps and accessible bathrooms, further promote an environment that supports independent living.
The financial costs of living with or caring for a loved one with an SCI can be overwhelming. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) may be options; in addition, you may qualify for other programs, such as through departments of aging and disability or state waivers for SCI, which can help pay bills or subsidize costs for medical equipment and supplies, home modifications, personal care attendants, adaptive vans, adaptive recreation equipment, and more. Private foundations may be another source of financial support. For example, special needs grants can support costs for assistive technology, adaptive recreational equipment, and other non-medical needs. Here is a list of a few potential resources:
A tax-advantaged savings account can be set up for individuals with SCIs and their families. Savings can go towards qualified disability expenses.
This nonprofit helps patients and families facing a catastrophic injury create personal fundraising campaigns to help pay for medical expenses that are uninsured.
If you do not have prescription drug coverage, this website offers access to programs to help you find affordable medication.
Children with SCIs can receive care with no financial obligation to patients or families.
Education and Vocational Rehabilitation
There is no need to abandon your education and career aspirations after a SCI. For example, Ramp Less Traveled provides scholarships and mentoring opportunities to assist you in your pursuit of higher education. As far as vocational rehabilitation, The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, or OVR, provides services to assist persons with disabilities in preparing for, finding, or maintaining employment. For example, vocational counseling, physical and occupational therapy, assistive technology, support services, and more.
A Philadelphia Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered an SCI due to another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your current and future medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. Arrange a free consultation with a trusted Philadelphia spinal cord injury lawyer.