Reconstructive Orthopaedics Logo

Helping a Loved One After an SCI

Feb 05, 2024
If someone you care about has experienced a spinal cord injury (SCI), you want to help however you can. We’ve teed up a few ideas you can use here. 

A spinal cord injury — or SCI, for short — has far-reaching implications. That’s because your spinal cord isn’t just the vertebrae that make up its bony portion. It also includes a bundle of nerves that send signals to your brain and the rest of your body. 

If someone you love has experienced an SCI, you want to do what you can to help them adjust to any changes, whether they’re temporary or permanent. You might provide caregiving services and help them modify their house to work better for their current state. It can be overwhelming to take on so much work as you worry over your injured loved one.  

You don’t have to navigate their recovery or adjustment process alone. As orthopaedic trauma experts, Karl Siebuhr, MD, and our team have extensive experience helping people with spinal cord injuries. Here at our Reconstructive Orthopaedics of Central Florida office in Ocala, Florida, we can apply treatment while also making recommendations to help you care for the injured person at home. 

In fact, we have a few suggestions to help you navigate the weeks and months ahead. 

#1: Talk with them and their doctors

SCIs can impact the individual in a number of ways. The symptoms your loved one experiences could range from weakness and loss of mobility to bladder and bowel problems. Their spinal cord injury could impact their:

  • Breathing
  • Ability to swallow
  • Circulation
  • Reflexes
  • Sexual wellness
  • Mental health

Along with all of this, spinal cord injuries often cause pain. 

Talk with your loved one about what they’re experiencing and how you can help them. Keep asking periodically as they may discover new areas where they need support as they adjust to life with their SCI. 

If it’s possible, you can also learn a lot about their injury by talking with their doctor. They can tell you about certain symptoms you should be aware of, and they’ll likely have tips you can employ to help. 

#2: Adapt their living space

If the SCI makes mobility difficult, you can help your loved one by moving things around their home so that they’re more accessible. If they have a two-story house, for example, you might move everything they’ll need to the ground floor. Or you might rearrange their kitchen so that everything is in cabinets they can easily access. 

#3: Help them help themselves

After such a serious injury, it’s tempting to want to do everything you can to help. You might not want your loved one to have to lift a finger. 

Ultimately, though, that level of support probably isn’t sustainable long-term. Absolutely assist the injured person when they can’t do the thing themself. But don’t rush to aid them everytime you see them struggling. Building new skills and learning to do as much as they can is a key part of leading a healthy, happy life with an SCI. 

#4: Stay involved in their journey

Even if they’ve been told they’ll never walk again, nothing is certain with an SCI. Countless people have overcome diagnoses to reclaim their mobility. Their symptoms may change over time and having loved ones involved can help them stay hopeful and motivated. 

It’s also possible that they may have setbacks as they adjust to life with their injury. In these scenarios, your support becomes even more important. 

We can also help you help your loved one every step of the way. To get our team involved so we can apply treatments and make recommendations to support them, call our office or request your appointment online today.