Health And Safety Procedures For Spinal Injury Patients – An injury to your spinal cord can affect every part of your life – and it can carry dire consequences if it’s not looked after properly before, during and after treatment.
Spinal injuries can cause complications in breathing, circulation, bladder and bowel control as well as many other potential knock-on issues. In the worst-case scenario, exacerbating an existing spinal injury could cause or extend paralysis throughout the body. With the potential consequences so severe, negligent care for spinal damage could lead to orthopaedic injury claims.
If you are dealing with a spinal injury or trying to support an injured family member, here are some things that you should know about prioritising their health and safety.
Types Of Spinal Injury
Knowing what you’re dealing with is an important part of understanding how to help someone. One way to consider different spinal injuries is based on their completeness:
- A complete spinal cord injury involves permanent damage that typically results in paraplegia or tetraplegia.
- An incomplete injury, involving only partial damage to the spinal cord, is less cut-and-dry. The amount of feeling and movement that patients can expect will depend on the location and severity of the damage as well as their own personal health circumstances.
The location of the injury along the spinal cord can often have a big effect, too. The most severe injuries are typical to the cervical portion, above the shoulders – the other parts of the spine, moving down the body, are the thoracic spine, lumbar spine and the sacrum. Care is likely to differ for patients affected in different parts of the spine.
Health And Safety Procedures For Spinal Injury Patients
A lack of or reduction in sensation is a common effect of spinal injuries, which makes it hard to tell when your body is in danger. As a result, you’ll need to take greater care in a preventative way to protect yourself from hot temperatures at home – as your brain may not realise when your skin is being burned.
Be extremely careful around the oven and when carrying hot liquids that could spill over you, and look over your skin after showers or baths to check for blisters or burns.
Health Risks to Bear in Mind
Spinal injuries can have a lot of knock-on effects that aren’t immediately obvious, and the same can be true of some medical treatments, so keep an eye out for changes that you might need to report to your doctor. These could include dizziness when standing up or sitting down, incontinence, or feeling sharp pains in the affected areas – even if it now lacks other sensation.
It’s also not uncommon for one’s mental health to suffer after a major injury. Train yourself to recognise possible symptoms of depression so that you can reach out if you find yourself struggling to adjust.
Rehabilitation and Home Life
Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need to make some adjustments at home to support your continued recovery or adapt to new circumstances. If you’ll be using a wheelchair and your home isn’t already designed with one in mind, for example, you may need to rearrange furniture to allow more space or consider installing a stairlift. It’s also possible that bathrooms may need adapting in order to make personal care easier and more comfortable.