What services do the Spinal Injuries Association offer?
The Spinal Injuries Association has a range of services, advice and campaign-led activities.
Every day advice and information
The SIA has an advice line which provides information to individuals, relatives and friends to help them understand more about spinal cord injury. The advice line provides support and practical information on a range of topics that people with a spinal cord injury encounter on a day-to-day basis, such as housing, returning to work, funding and holidays.
It has often been said that the best support for spinal cord injured people comes from their peers. If you have received treatment in a spinal cord injury unit, you will have probably had support from other people with similar injuries who are also undergoing rehabilitation. You will also probably want to know what life is like a year, or more, down the line.
You may even want to know how others have managed, what has worked well for them and what has been less successful. Support whilst undergoing rehabilitation is immensely useful but support upon discharge from either a hospital or spinal injury unit is vital.
Many people find that it is only when they have returned to the community that their rehabilitation really begins and it is often at this point when the most amount of support is needed. We recognise this reality and aim to have provisions in place to support our clients with this transition, where possible and subject to funds.
In any event, whether you have funding or not, we believe the peer support services from the SIA provide invaluable advice at this crucial junction.
Funding care after discharge from hospital
A spinal cord injury affects every aspect of daily life. Those who sustain a spinal cord injury will receive care and treatment whilst in hospital but not necessarily once they have been discharged. These needs continue and ongoing support may be needed in order to live independently in an accessible environment, ideally your home.
The SIA can provide information to individuals and their relatives to help them understand the different types of funding options available. The SIA is also able to assist with applying for the funding most relevant to the individual’s care needs.
The SIA has a Continuing Healthcare advice service which can provide information and advice on all aspects of NHS Continuing Healthcare, and can assist with preparing for an assessment or review of funding.
NHS Continuing Healthcare is not currently means tested.
The SIA also has a Social Care advice service. Social Care funding can help you access services needed to achieve everyday tasks, such as looking after yourself and the home, or enabling engagement with the community.
Local councils can either arrange nearby services for the individual, or pay the funding direct to the individual with the spinal cord injury through Direct Payments. If funding is received through Direct Payments, the individual with the spinal cord injury will have to organise and pay for their own care using the funds.
Social Care is means tested which, depending on your level of income and savings, means you may be asked to pay some or all of the costs of your care.
Campaigning, education and healthcare policy
With many healthcare services facing cuts from the government, people with a spinal cord injury need a voice. Some people will have been treated within a spinal cord injury unit and others will have been treated in a district general hospital.
The SIA campaigns on issues relating to spinal cord injury to ensure specialist advice and understanding continues.
Ensuring the needs of spinal cord injured people are recognised and addressed by society and healthcare policy is key to enabling individuals affected by spinal cord injury to rebuild their lives.
The SIA also provides comment in the media on the often discussed topic of spinal cord repair. Ensuring society understands that becoming paralysed means more than just the inability to walk is vital.
Spinal cord repair will only be truly successful when it is able to repair not only the ability to walk but also bladder, bowel and sexual function, as well improve pain levels, and, for tetraplegics, improve or repair hand function.
The SIA recognise the hard work many spinal injury healthcare specialists and individuals provide to people when they sustain an injury.
Bolt Burdon Kemp is delighted to be a Legal Trusted Partner of the SIA. The support given helps the SIA provide several of the services listed above.
If you or a member of your family has been unfortunate enough to have suffered a spinal injury as a result of an accident or substandard medical treatment, our specialist spinal injury solicitors can assist you in bringing a compensation claim against the people and/or organisations responsible.
Please contact our specialist spinal injury team on 0203 6279 929 or complete our online spinal injury enquiry form.