A person who has become partially or completely paralyzed after a serious accident will have a long road to recovery and to rebuilding what will be his dramatically changed new life. He most likely will need to go to a rehabilitation center to learn how to perform many of the day-to-day activities he once took for granted. A team of qualified professionals both at the center and once he returns home can significantly influence how well a paralysis victim can reintegrate into his life and achieve a sense of independence.
Six Professionals a Paralysis Victim Wants on His Team
Often a paralysis victim will need the assistance of family in picking a good rehabilitation center and quality professional help. Medical professionals who can assist paralysis victims include:
This is a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He can coordinate the medical care and rehabilitation therapies for a person who has suffered a spinal cord injury and paralysis.
These nurses received special training in rehabilitative and restorative principles and work collaboratively with the rest of the team assisting a paralysis victim to manage his medical issues—some complex. A rehab nurse is an expert in bladder, bowel, nutrition, skin, pain management, and self-care issues. She will provide support and education to the victim’s family and can provide assistance once the person returns to home, work, or school.
An occupational therapist can help the person relearn his day-to-day activities so he can be as independent as possible. He will help the person with dressing, bathing, preparing meals, and provide training in the use of assistive tools to help replace lost functions. He can also evaluate the person’s work and home environments and make recommendations on adaptations.
A physical therapist can help a person increase his strength, endurance, and coordination, maintain muscles in paralyzed limbs, and gain bladder and bowel control. He can also teach the person how to use adaptive tools, such as wheelchairs and braces.
This person can help the person discover recreational opportunities in his community that he could take advantage of to improve his quality of life.
A paralysis victim could find a vocational therapist helpful in assessing his skills and in working with the state’s vocational rehab or other agencies to obtain equipment, training, and job placement.
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