You’re invited to eat fish & chips at the James Paget tomorrow, Friday 1 June, to support Spinal Cord Injuries Awareness Day and to raise funds for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).
On June 1 visitors, patients and staff will be able buy fish and chips in the hospital’s restaurants and those that do are being asked to make a donation to the SIA, the leading national user-led spinal cord injuries charity, which supports those with spinal cord injuries to live fulfilled lives. There are around 500 people in Norfolk and Waveney with spinal cord injuries and many of them are supported by the team at the James Paget, which includes specialist nurses and therapists who work with the charity to provide support.
Spinal cord injuries can affect anyone. Some are as a result of trauma – a road traffic collision, a significant fall or perhaps sports or battlefield injuries – while others are as a result of illness or a medical condition, but whatever the type of injury it means a substantial change to someone’s life. The nature and level of paralysis will vary depending on the injury but there is hope - with peer support from those in a similar situation and rehabilitation providing a way forward.
All patients with spinal cord injuries are recorded within hours of arrival at the James Paget and this then opens to door to the start of the rehabilitation process. While serious trauma cases are often referred on from the Paget to specialist centres at the Norfolk & Norwich and Addenbrookes hospitals - and patients will be referred to the Spinal Injuries Centre at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, which specialises in rehabilitation – our specialist team, including nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, will work closely with patients in the immediate period following the injury and when they return to the area.
James Paget Senior Sister and Spinal Link Nurse Jill Stebbings says; “We want to let people know there is life after spinal cord injury and that you can still have quality of life. It won’t be the same as before and one of the key things people have to realise is it does mean a significant change. We are here to help and we work closely with the Spinal Injuries Association who provide support to help you and your family.
“Spinal Cord Injuries Day is all about raising awareness. Prevention is the key as there is currently no cure, so taking sensible precautions, including simple things such as holding onto the bannister when climbing or descending stairs, not letting children go on trampolines without safety netting, not over-reaching and stabilising when using a ladder, and driving or riding appropriately, can help prevent some of the injuries we see.
“You would be surprised at how many injuries occur on weekends and bank holidays. With major traumas patients are likely to be transferred to specialist centres but we deal with the acute phase, dealing with things such as bowel and bladder care, and provide that link with spinal services.”
Most people with spinal cord injuries have a normal life expectancy, but this can mean you become more dependent and need more support as you grow older.
Within the hospital this also means part of Jill and her team’s role is to support other nurses who may be looking after patients with other conditions as well as a spinal cord injury.
When you buy your fish and chips and make a donation to the Spinal Injuries Association you will be helping provide crucial peer support to those with these injuries.
SIA believes that the best support for spinal cord injured people comes from their peers. The majority of their services are delivered by spinal cord injured people who share their lived experiences for the benefit of newly injured people. Their Peer Support Officers provide one-to-one support, practical help, advice, encouragement and a listening ear and will also support your family members and friends, allowing them to talk through the impact of a spinal cord injury with someone who understands and who can signpost them to sources of help and information.
For more information visit their website at www.spinal.co.uk/