Legal and Practical Help After Spinal Cord Injury

Around 1000 people within the UK and Ireland will receive a substantial spinal cord injury in the next 12 months with the highest rate of injury occurring between the ages of 15 to 38. The most common cause of spinal cord injury are road traffic accidents (36.8%) trips and falls (41.7%) sports injuries with the highest being rugby and horseriding (11.6%) being knocked over or while lifting or colliding with an object such as diving in shallow water (4.2%) and finally trauma causing around 3.3% of injuries.

There is currently no cure for spinal injury or anyway to repair a damaged spinal cord, research continues and although progress is being made, anything resembling a cure or reversal of spinal injury is still very much in the distant future. News and current research programmes can be found on the Spinal Research website at www.spinal-research.org.

A person’s life can change completely after a severe spinal injury, many being confined to a wheelchair and having to rely on carers due to complete or partial paralysis often resulting that after rehabilitation they cannot return to their previous home due to access issues, this obviously means greater emotional upset added to having to learn to live a completely different life with a disability and in many cases with limited funds.

Fieldfisher are experts in all personal injury and medical negligence claims including spinal injury compensation claims, if your injury was caused by negligence or due to the actions of a third party, workplace incompetence or other issues outside of your control you may well be able to make a claim for substantial compensation that could at least help alleviate your financial problems allowing you to adapt and start rebuilding your life.

If compensation is not an option you may be entitled to a Disabled Facilities Grant from your local council, further details can be found on the Gov.UK site or by clicking this Disabled Facilities Grant link.

Thankfully there is a great deal of support provided from the moment that you are admitted to hospital. The Spinal Injury Association (SIA) have a number of dedicated male and female peer support officers that fully understand what you’re going through and will help you rebuild your life through support, outside resources and important information geared toward your exact needs. The SIA offer free advice on 0800 980 0501 or you can chat online or through the website at www.spinal.co.uk.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, there is help available and that life does go on and in time you will rebuild your life albeit in a different direction than you originally intended.

As a spinal injury cord person that suffered a C4/5 injury I can tell you that the resources highlighted in this article have been invaluable to me and I hope they are invaluable to you or any of your friends or family members that have recently received a spinal cord injury.

As the now Professor Brian Cox shouted at us when he played keyboards with D:Ream back in 1994 “things can only get better”


Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles from WAV Compare

Oh no I hear you cry, not another price comparison website that’s going to bombard my television with a crazy middle-aged opera singer driving me nuts or some silly robot trying to sell me car insurance or worse still cute little Meerkats that in real life would more than likely rip your arm off (yes sorry to burst your bubble but in reality they are vicious little devils) No, this comparison site is actually very useful and there when you want it rather than screaming at your television screen just as you sit down to watch Heartbeat with a cuppa and a chocolate Hobnob.

WAV Compare is a unique and bespoke website providing the largest online showroom of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV). Here you can leisurely search for all types of WAV vehicles including cars, minibuses and vans that you can drive while seated in your wheelchair or rear or upfront passenger options, all available from leading makes and models including luxurious Mercedes, VW, Peugeot, Ford and Fiat models offering you a large selection and multiple colours to choose from to meet your exact wheelchair travel or driving needs.
As well as offering you the chance to purchase a new wheelchair accessible vehicle or lease one from the popular Motability scheme you can also purchase quality used WAV’s at a fraction of the new cost or even sell your own vehicle. 

All of this can be done at your leisure through the WAV Compare website where you can also select a range of features including chair lift options, manual or powered ramps, winches, rear or side wheelchair access and many more features to make your wheelchair travel easier and in many cases independent. Driving option and adaptations are also catered for in your online search should you require hand controls or adapted accelerator pedals etc.

Why go to one dealership and be offered one or two makes and models when you can find the U.K.’s largest selection at the click of a mouse. 

Search by your postcode to select WAV vehicles near to you by going to the WAV Compare website and start saving as well as having a greater choice to meet your individual needs.

One thing you won’t get is painfully repetitive, annoying blah blah blah compare songs that will get into your head and drive you mad. Just loads of choice, real bargains, and dedicated wheelchair accessible vehicle sales. 


Using a walking Stick - Safety Measures for Using a Walking Stick

Once you have measured yourself correctly for the correct height walking stick and you are holding it in the hand opposite to the affected leg or side of you, there are some hazards inside and outside to be mindful of before you begin walking with a stick.

Starting inside the home, beware of carpets, rugs and door thresholds that have loose corners or raised edges, always make sure matting is firmly fixed. Wet floors should be avoided completely as even rubber ferrules can loose their grip on wet floors. Recently mopped floors, kitchens, bathrooms and entrance hallways should be dried and checked before walking on them using a stick or crutches.

Going back to ferrules, it is best to check the state of the ferrule on your walking stick every few weeks to make sure it has not worn down and if it has, replace it as soon as you can.

Many main indoor hazards can be avoided by having good lighting in your home. Energy saving light bulbs are great, but you need to wait for them to fully light before you can walk up stairs and actually see where you are going! Good lighting in your hallway, on the landing and up the stairs are very important to help prevent tripping up or over something in the dark.

The NHS advice for going up and down the stairs with a walking stick is to use the handrail and ensure the stick goes on the same step as the affected leg. The unaffected leg should lead going upstairs, and the affected leg when coming down.

For outside use, there are some straight forward and some unusual things to look out for when walking with a stick. Wet, icy, muddy and uneven surfaces and pavements need to be walked on with care and areas with wet leaves and snow are best avoided. Tiled areas and ground covered in slippery algae are also hazards.

Drain covers with the rows of stick sized gaps are quite a trap for the unassuming pedestrian. It is very easy to get your walking stick stuck in one of those gaps or even worse fall and injure yourself!

To sum up, being safe indoors and outdoors means being beware of wet surfaces, replacing the rubber ferrule on your stick regularly and keeping your indoor environment well lit.