SPINALNEWS Ireland s National Spinal Injuries Magazine

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1 Spring 2012 SPINALNEWS Ireland s National Spinal Injuries Magazine Back to Work p26 SII's New RIB p12 Liz in Tanzania p18 Diane's Story p6

2 Wheelchair Cars Ireland SALE NOW ON Irelands Largest Selection of Wheelchair Accessibe Vehicles - Making way for New 2012 Stock Phone: Mobile: / Renault Kangoo Peugeot Expert Volkswagen SALE SALE Renault Kangoo Kia Sedona Drive from wheelchair / up front passenger New Model SALE New Fiat Qubo Plus 2009 Ford Focus 2008 Renault Kangoo - Drive from 2010 Renault Master SALE Fiat Doblo Peugeot Partner / Citreon Berlingo Motoring Aids SALE SALE Hand Controls Swivel Seats Easy Release Handbrake Boot Hoist Lodgeson Infra Red Hand Control Auto Brake, Etc. Irelands largest stockists of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles - Over 60 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles In Stock All Trade Ins Accepted SALE 2 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland

3 Editorial Welcome to the spring issue of 'Spinal News'. We would like to thank our members for their contribution of articles and news items. In this edition of 'Spinal News' Diane Wilson and Tony Mangan s stories will inspire you on what is possible following on from sustaining a spinal cord injury. We also bring you news on Spinal Injuries Ireland s new expanded Regional Community Service. This we hope will be the start of a more comprehensive service for you. Your Community Liaison Officer will be making contact with you in the coming weeks to arrange a visit. We acknowledge and thank all the staff in the NRH who are retiring. Between them all a total of 220 years experience. Their expertise and kindness will be greatly missed. On page 18 you will be reminded how challenging living with a spinal cord injury is without the appropriate medication, equipment and rehabilitation facilities. Liz Croxon, Clinical Facilitator in the NRH writes about her recent visit to Tanzania. If you have a story you think may be of interest please contact us. And don t worry, if you are not comfortable writing it, we have writers who will help you put your story together. Colm Whooley, CEO The News Crew Production: Editorial: Advertising: Contributors: Christine Bradshaw Noelle Daly Colm Whooley Philip Quinlan Fleur Muldowney Fiona McGoran Maeve Nolan Mark Quinn Liz Croxon Patrons: Chris de Burgh and Diane Davison The views expressed in Spinal News are not necessarily those of Spinal Injuries Ireland. Contact Details: Spinal Injuries Ireland, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Tel: Website: Contents 4 SII News 4 Regional Community Service 12 Wild Seals Venture Activities 28 Fundraising 6 My Story 6 Diane's Story 8 16 Disability News 8 Doctors told: Display or Pay. New Edition: Building for Everyone 9 Sligo Disabled Allocated 1,383,538 for Home Improvements 14 NRH News 14 NRH Bids Fond Farewell 18 Liz Visits Tanzania on Training Programme General 16 Accessible Fly Fishing 22 Home From Rehabilitation 26 Getting Back to Work 30 Calorie Counting 31 Could You be a Platelet Donor 34 Connections 35 The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal 24 Travel 24 Lagos, Portugal 25 Apartments to rent in Majorca, Cyprus and Fuerteventura 32 Gardening 32 7 Tips For Spring Gardening Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 3

4 Regional Community Service "Spinal Injuries Ireland expands service" As part of Spinal Injuries Irelands drive to develop and improve, we are now introducing a more dedicated and comprehensive regional service. This new service will initially be focused on regions 2, 3 and 6 (outlined on the map). We plan to roll out this service in the other regions over the coming 18 months. Each region will have a designated Community Liaison Officer (CLO) who will be ensuring that they have a comprehensive understanding of the clients' needs in their region. The new regional service will include the following: Visit from the CLO to update themselves on your present situation and circumstances Facilitation and assistance towards achieving agreed personal goals Vocational support Information about counsellors with a knowledge of Spinal Cord Injury Information about accessible sport and social activities A regional group for you to get involved in Information talks / workshops in your region Organisation of accessible activities in your local region A mentoring programme for you to volunteer for or to avail of The CLO is also available to talk to a family member who may be looking for information or support. The CLO will also be holding information workshops for family members. If you live in region 2, 3 or 6, our CLO will be in touch with you in the coming months to arrange an appointment to discuss this new service with you. The CLO will also be hoping to get a better understanding of the service and needs in your region based on your experience. If you would like to be prioritised for a visit, please do not hesitate to call us on Please also contact us if you are interested in participating in or finding out more about a regional group. It is important to say that while we will be striving to develop the new regional services in regions 2, 3 and 6 we will continue our policy to visit everyone from between 6 and 8 weeks post discharge. We will also ensure that we respond to any requests for assistance or visits in the other regions in the interim. Region 2 Region 3 Region 6 Siobhan O'Driscoll Clare McGarvey Deirdre Griffin 4 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland

5 Do you need information on... Family Support Medical Items Social Welfare Payments Personal Assistants Back to Work Housing Grants Education Retraining Legal Affairs Call Spinal Injuries Ireland on or log on to our website Counselling Service Did you or a family member sustain a spinal cord injury? Are you finding it hard to cope? Are you fearful of the future? Do you need someone to talk to? Call Joan on Joan Carthy, BSc Counselling & Psychotherapy Spinal Injuries Ireland Spinal Injuries Ireland Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Web: Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 5

6 My Story Diane's Story By Fleur Muldowney Diane pictured above on the morning of her sister Sharon's wedding on the 9th May 2009 On the 8th of September 2002, Diane serious injury. I was moved to the Spinal Wilson was a regular 21-year-old Unit in the Mater Hospital in Dublin on student, no different from any the Sunday afternoon, says Diane. I had other. The long summer holidays were the operation four days later to stabilize nearing their end and she was looking my vertebrae. Diane had suffered a T5 forward to returning to Birmingham for (complete) injury, which causes paralysis her third year at university. Life was a big, from chest level down. I spent 3 weeks open, blank canvas, filled with possibilities. in the Mater and then I moved to Our Then, on the way home from a night out Lady s ward at the National Rehabilitation with her brother and some friends, Diane Hospital and I was there until May 21, was a backseat passenger in a car that overturned and crashed. A single vehicle So, while her friends were returning to collision, late Saturday night-early Sunday college and enjoying themselves, Diane morning we often hear them reported started on the long road to a new life. At as we half-listen to the radio while eating the time of the accident I had just finished breakfast or making coffee or reading the the summer of second year from university papers, but rarely do we spare more than a in England, where I was studying primary passing thought for those involved. teaching in Newman College of Higher The accident was to have devastating Education in Birmingham. After the consequences for Diane. Although she accident, I felt like I had lost my whole had been wearing a seatbelt, it was clear independence, I just didn t think I d be when she arrived at Our Lady of Lourdes able to go back to England, I didn t think Hospital, Drogheda that she had suffered a it would ever be possible to ever go to any 6 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland course in a different country, I would be too dependent on other people. Thankfully, Sr. Casey in the Rehab encouraged me greatly to go back. She thought it would be possible to transfer my place in the UK to Northern Ireland. But at that stage I was like, What are you talking about? I am going to be walking out of here, I m going to be going back to England. There was no way I thought I would be going to college in the chair, that was not going to happen to me. Initially when she arrived in the Rehab, Diane thought that with an intense course of physio and an occupational therapy program, she would be walking again in no time. When she realized that was not going to happen, she thought it would never be possible for her return to college: at that stage, so soon after the accident, she was still very dependent on other people for the simplest of things. But Sr. Casey persisted and eventually Diane applied for

7 the course. Over the long, busy months in the Rehab she kept up with her application, sending previous results from Newman College and her Leaving Cert, waiting to hear what might happen. On May 16, July 2003 Diane was discharged from the Rehab, not really knowing what might lie ahead. It was a daunting time, but luckily Diane didn t have to wait long in July she was called for an interview for a place at Stranmillis University College at Queen s University in Belfast. After a successful interview, Diane was offered a place in third year for September 2003, just 12 months after her accident. After everything she had been through, she had only missed out one year of university. I always feel like everything just fell into place, she says. I was at a crossroads, after being discharged from the NRH, and this just worked out for me. I started that September, which was just a year after the accident, it was incredibly quick now that I think about it. Looking back now, I can t believe I went really - I was very brave! So 12 months after suffering a lifechanging T5 injury, Diane was back at college, meeting new friends and really doing most things for herself. I stayed in Halls of Residence, which had a disabled access room with en-suite facilities. It was difficult at first alright, especially because Stranmillis is a very hilly campus, but I soon made friends who were more than willing to help push me to and from lectures The college helped as much as they could, installing disabled toilets, stair lifts and disabled parking bays. And suddenly the nervous girl who had been convinced she was too dependent on others to ever go back to college was gone. For the first year, I had a carer that came in every morning to help me transfer and that kind of thing, but by the second year that I was there I didn t need her anymore. In November 2003, Diane continued her determined rehabilitation by passing her driving test, a massive ticket to independence. Now she could drive herself to her lectures at Stranmillis. It was a massive challenge, arriving in Belfast, not knowing a sinner really, making new friends and negotiating a brave new world, but Diane coped with aplomb, enjoying her new-found independence and balancing it by going home every Friday for a good dollop of family support. A teaching degree requires lots of teaching practice in schools, and in this Diane was lucky she was in Belfast where she found the transport facilities to be wonderful. There were plenty of wheelchair accessible taxis, and the public transport was generally very accessible. Diane graduated in July 2005, and moved home to Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan where her family had moved house to a bungalow, which they had adapted for wheelchair use. Keeping an eye on the papers, she soon saw a teacher required for learning support/resource teaching. I thought I would never have a chance getting a teaching job being a wheelchair user and with so many able-bodied people applying at the same time, says Diane, who by now really should have learned not to underestimate herself. She got the job, of course. Diane was shared between four schools when she started employment but is now based part time in one school teaching children with special education needs such as Autism, Asperger s and Dyspraxia, among others. I enjoy the oneto-one nature of the work but I have done some subbing days in the classroom and I would sometimes miss the spontaneity of that, being able to teach all the subjects and having that variety. But then with class teaching you have different stresses, for example teaching in a classroom with 30 children. In addition to her busy working life, Diane is Secretary of the Castleblayney Access Group, which has been in existence for 20 years now. The group is a watchdog for access issues in the town and was set up in 1994 by a group of wheelchair users and their families. Brendan McEneaney is chairman of the committee. When Diane returned to Castleblayney after her accident, Brendan sought her out. We do a lot of fundraising - we hold a quiz bi-annually, for example says Diane. In conjunction with the HSE we purchased a bus that takes people to the local Crannog Centre which has a physio and an OT department, and people can take computer courses and that there. Recently a new Post Office was being built and they hadn t planned on putting in a low counter so we got them to do that. Imagine building a new Post Office and not putting in a low counter! We also wrote letters to all the pubs, for example one of them had a cigarette machine blocking the disabled toilet, and we got him to move it. In May of this year, Diane turned 30. She decided to celebrate, it was time for a big party. But there were to be no presents - instead, her guests were encouraged to make a donation to Spinal Injuries Ireland. On the 14 May, Diane presented SII with a cheque for 3,350, a huge donation which will help many other spinal injury sufferers. Nearly ten years after her accident, Diane continues to be a real example to other young people of the possibilities of a full and rewarding life, no matter what fate might fling at you. Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 7

8 Disability News Doctors told: Display or pay Health News Ireland conducts a straw poll on the latest move to get GPs to put up a price list. And here s the news: we ve got a bunch of angry medics on our hands Doctors Have Been Asked To Display Their Charges prominently in their surgeries; and to do so without delay. The demand, by the National Consumer Agency (NCA), is being hailed as part of the drive towards a more open and transparent society. The NCA says the initiative will empower patients when it comes to choosing a General Practitioner. The NCA goes a step further in this process: they say that if your doctor is not displaying his or her prices at this point, then you should challenge them directly on this and demand to know when they intend to display their prices! Ann Fitzgerald is the Chief Executive of the NCA. She said: We hope that GPs and their regulator, the Medical Council, recognise the benefits that transparency in pricing will bring for consumers and that the Council will include a requirement for price display for practitioners in their formal professional standards and guidelines. She says that having access to pricing information enables the consumer to consider all factors, such as quality of treatment, the doctor/patient relationship, convenience and also price when they choose a GP. We encourage all GPs, who have not done so already, to display prices prominently in their surgery and on their website, said Ms Fitzgerald. Enhanced support for people with disabilities announced The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, has announced two new initiatives aimed at enhancing support offered to people with disabilities who are planning to take up employment or development opportunities. The Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme will allow people with disabilities to avail of employment opportunities without restrictions on their employment income while continuing to receive their income support payment form the Department of Social Protection. The payment option will be open to people with disabilities who are in receipt of an Invalidity Pension or who are in receipt of Illness Benefit for more than six months. Those eligible to take part will receive an ongoing income support payment based on an assessment of their capacity to work, the Minister said in a statement today. People with a disability face particular challenges being accepted for and taking up work opportunities. Participation in the scheme, which aims to address a limitation of the current welfare system, is voluntary and applications are been taken now. It is hoped that it will address existing shortcomings by recognising and responding to the reality that some people with disabilities will have a capacity to engage in employment while continuing to need some income support from the State. New Edition: Building For Everyone The National Disability Authority (NDA) recently launched a series of booklets called Building for Everyone: A Universal Design approach. The booklets are a practical guide on how universal design can be used creatively in designing buildings, places and spaces that can be used by people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. The booklets were launched by Phil Hogan, TD, Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government on 23 March, who said: Universal design places people at the heart of the design process and enables buildings and environments to be accessed, used safely and enjoyed by all members of our society". Building for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach is available free of charge from the 8 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the NDA. Visit or www. universaldesign.ie/buildingforeveryone. Aavailable to download in PDF format:- External environment Entrances and Horizontal Circulation Vertical Circulation Internal Environment and Services Sanitary Facilities Facilities Building Types Building Management Planning Index and Terminology Entire Series; Boolkets 1-10 A second initiative, the EmployAbility Service, will offer a range of supports, including workplace adaptation grants, wage subsidies and on-site job coaches and mentors to both workers and to employers. The service aims to educate and reassure employers about misconceptions about the risk of employing a person with a disability. People with a disability face particular challenges being accepted for and taking up work opportunities, Minister Burton said when announcing the scheme. One of the benefits from the merger of FÁS with the Department of Social Protection is that we will now be able to integrate our activities to develop new and improve existing measures and initiatives and to help people build on their abilities to overcome the barriers to gaining and maintaining employment.

9 Sligo disabled allocated 1,383,538 for home improvement Minister for Housing and Planning, Ms. Jan O Sullivan T.D., announced a capital provision of 67.75m for grants to improve or adapt the private homes of older people and people with a disability in Announcing the allocations, the Minister said, "The Government is determined that our scarce resources are targeted at those most in need and I am delighted to be able to secure this level of funding for the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People Did you know? and People with a Disability in spite of the severe constraints on the public finances in these challenging economic times for our country and for our people" Sligo/Nth Leitrim TD, Deputy Tony Mc Loughlin has welcomed the allocation of 997,684 for Sligo Co Council and a further 385,844 for Sligo Borough Council. "I am aware of outstanding grants that are due to be paid and I hope that this allocation will help clear the backlog in some way" commented the Sligo Deputy. Last year almost 12,000 grants were paid out under these schemes by the various local authorities around the country. While grants of up to 30,000 are available for improvement works and extensions to facilitate a person with a disability, the majority of claims were under the Grants for Older People which You can get VAT refunds on aids and appliances if you have a disability. provides for a grant of up to 10,500 to assist householders to have necessary repairs or improvements carried out to their homes. In addition, the Mobility Aids Grants scheme can provide up to 6,000 for works to address mobility problems through the provision of stairlifts and level-access showers etc., "These support grants have a major impact on the quality of life for the thousands of recipients, and is vitally important in assisting older people and people with a disability to continue living in their own homes, and, will benefit them for many years to come. They also generate local employment opportunities for builders and businesses and help reduce the dependency on our health services by supporting independent living for as long as possible. They are a win-win for all involved. I am confident this allocation will continue to build on the progress made since the introduction of this scheme in 2007 and it will demonstrate the Government s continued commitment to older people and people with a disability" the Minister concluded. If you live in Ireland and have a disability, you may get a refund of Value-Added Tax (VAT) on certain special aids and appliances you need. In some cases people who pay for aids and appliances that are for the exclusive use of a person with a disability can also claim the VAT refund. People with both physical and mental disabilities can avail of these VAT refunds. Rules You can claim a VAT refund on aids and appliances that help you carry out daily activities at home or work. To claim a VAT refund you must: Live in Ireland Have a disability Need the aid or appliance to help with daily activities The aid or appliance must be owned by and for the exclusive use of the person with the disability. If the VAT refund is being sought by a person other than the user of the aid or appliance, the Revenue Commissioners may ask for evidence that the aid is solely owned by and is for the sole use of the person with the disability. In this case, these goods must not be supplied in the course of a business run by the purchaser of the goods. Examples of eligible aids and appliances include: Domestic aids, for example, eating and drinking aids Walk-in baths Commode chairs Lifting seats and specified chairs Hoists and lifts, including stair lifts Communication aids You may need to produce medical evidence of your disability. VAT refunds are not allowed on: Services for people with disabilities Rented aids and appliances Where to apply For more information or to claim a refund on an aid or appliance contact: Central Repayments Office Office of the Revenue Commissioners M: TEK II Building Armagh Road Monaghan Ireland Tel:+353 (0) Web: Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 9

10 Hospital Appointments The Road to London Eimear Breathnach is one of the many Irish athletes currently in training for the London 2012 Paralympic games. Eimear's sport is table tennis, a sport she has been playing since 18 and she has been competing on the international stage for over a decade. Eimear's qualification for London was based on her 6 best results from competitions in 2011 which count towards her world ranking. Her qualification is just reward for all the hard work she puts in on a weekly basis. Her training consists of between hours per week including strength and conditioning training. London will be Eimear's second paralympic games, having qualified 4 years ago in Beijing. She hopes to be joined in London by the golden girl of Irish sport Katie Taylor, an athlete she greatly admires. Eimear doesn t have strong medal hopes for London but freely admits that she thrives on the competition and rates her qualification for Beijing as her finest sporting achievement, so far. She combines working with her training regime and her husband and family give her great support. In an ideal world she could give up work and train fulltime but at the moment that is unlikely, unless she wins the lotto. On the day of competition she doesn t have any particular superstitions or rituals but does like to listen to music as a distraction from all else around her. One of her favourite songs at the moment is Edge of Glory which we hope is rather appropriate once she gets to London By Mark Quinn Favourite Movie: Pretty Women/Harry Potter Favourite Celeb: Pierce Brosnan Nickname: Eims/Emo Sporting Hero: Katie Taylor Favourite Holiday Destination: Florida/Miami/Everglades Favourite Song: Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga Favourite Meal: Red Thai Chicken Curry Bad Habits: None! Eimear Breathnach If you could be invisible for a day? I would sneak into the Irish rugby dressing room. 4 Dinner Guests: Sean Connery, Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, and Billy Connolly Generally spinal cord injury patients receive an annual appointment to have their kidney/bladder function reviewed. It is necessary to attend in order to address any ongoing issues and prevent any potential problems. Indeed, some patients are attending for over 50 years. If the appointment you received is not suitable please ask us for an alternative month /day/ time and we will do our best to try and facilitate your request. Please do remember to cancel if unable to attend as another patient could benefit from the appointment. Reminder to all those living with injury for 20+ years! Please complete the survey recently sent out by SII and NRH. It is vital that we get as many replies as possible in order to have an accurate picture of the health and well being of Irish people living with spinal injury for many years. Thank you for your support. 10 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland

11 Beware of pressure Sores Six months, three weeks and four days, that's the hospital time I have just paid for getting a pressure sore. I was in an isolation room in the annex of St Michael's Hospital. Four operations, five litres of blood, 3 trips to St Vincent's for pic lines and once to the HDU ward. I had a Vac machine for months before I entered the hospital and again between the operations. Mr Carroll (God bless him), the plastic surgeon, tried a skin graph but it did not take so he did a muscle flap. The sore was on my hip so he opened the skin on my leg and rapped the muscle around the hip bone after cleaning out the dead tissue. I had to lie on one side and my back for the 6 months. The staff were wonderful but they were not used to a spinal cord patient so I had to teach them how to handle me. The hospital had no shower trolly (believe it or not) so they got one. So, all I can advise is that you look after your skin and remember, prevention is better than what I have just gone through. Martin Sinnott, C5/6 complete Reunion for Women with Spinal cord Injury 2012 Date: Friday 11th May, 10am-4pm This years women s reunion day format will be similar to last year, with introduction and small group discussions in the morning and pampering in the afternoon. If you would like to submit a question beforehand, we will endeavor to have professionals in that field answer it for you. COSYFEET SHOES, SLIPPERS & SANDLES NOW IN STOCK IDEAL FOR SWOLLEN OR BANDAGED FEET. ADVANCE ELECTRICAL MOBILITY 4 CRUMLIN VILLAGE CRUMLIN DUBLIN OUR CUSTOMER CARE PLEDGE We will PRICE MATCH on any products found cheaper from another supplier. We will Always give you our BEST PRICING regardless of quantity ordered. We give you our guarantee that we will SAVE YOU MONEY on any Quotation on any comparable items. We guarantee you a HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT at a BUDGET PRICE. FREE assessment and demonstration of all our products. Try before you buy. Full WARRANTY and AFTER SALES SERVICE direct from us. Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 11

12 Wild Seals Venture Activities Spinal Injuries Ireland is delighted to announce the arrival of our brand new Rigid Inflatable Boat, funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The boat is moored in Dun Laoghaire Marina and is currently being prepared, ready for use by our members this Spring. The boat is specially adapted to ensure the comfort and safety of people with spinal injury, with high backed padded and comfortable seats. The boat will be used to support the venture activities of Spinal Injuries Ireland. As one SII member says everyone with a spinal injury should have the opportunity to experience the freedom and enjoyment of engaging in water based activities while enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings that the coast of Ireland has to offer. Spinal Injuries Ireland are currently looking for people with spinal injuries who would be interested in being trained to drive the boat. We would require you to be available after receiving the training to volunteer your time to take clients and patients out from Dun Laoghaire harbour. All costs, support and supervision will be covered. If you are interested in putting yourself forward for a place on the training course, or would just like more information, please contact Jennifer Wright at SII on Self Defence April 2012 An Introduction to Kayaking 15th April 2012 Airsoft Target Shooting The next self defence training weekend is scheduled for April The date has yet to be confirmed so keep an eye on our website for an update. If you are interested in attending the self defence weekend and would like an opportunity to train with Martin O Neill of JKD Ireland, please contact the SII office on or spinalinjuries.ie'. Spinal Injuries Ireland have teamed up with DIT Canoe Club and Sandycove Kayak Club to hold an introduction to kayaking day in Blessington on Sunday 15th April. All equipment will be supplied. If you are interested in coming along please contact Jennifer Wright on or spinalinjuries.ie Airsoft Target shooting continues to be a popular weekly event. This activity takes place every Tuesday in the NRH Sports Hall at 7pm. If you would like to come along and give it a try please contact Jennifer on or spinalinjuries.ie' 12 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland

13 Social and Venture Activities Gallery Rugby: Spinal Injuries Ireland were fortunate enough to get tickets for the Six Nations Rugby matches in the Aviva Stadium. Altogether we brought 15 patients from the NRH to watch the games, for some it was their first time to visit the Aviva. They were great days out with everyone enjoying the craic. Here are some quotes from patients who attended:- "I really needed that, I needed a good laugh." "It was the best day out I've had in a long time." Soccer: We brought 5 patients to the Aviva Stadium on 29 February, 2012 to see the International Soccer friendly between Ireland and the Czech Republic. Simon Cox s late equaliser earned the Republic a draw with the Czech Republic after Milan Baros had put the visitors ahead. An exciting match with everyone having a great time. Cinema: SII bring patients to the local cinema every second week. So far 10 patients have enjoyed evenings out watching films on the big screen. This is a popular social event which will continue throughout the year. Shopping: Always popular with the ladies, we had 6 parients who enjoyed trips to Dundrum Town Centre where shopping is always an enjoyable experience. Pier Push: 2 patients enjoyed a push along Dun Laoghaire pier to take in the fresh air and see some of the local wildlife. Self Defence: A Self Defence training weekend took place in February with 7 ex patients coming along to practice and develop their defence techniques. 1. Caroline, Leonard O'Haloran, Declan O'Shea & Kevin Bradshaw 2. Liz Smyth, Jennifer Wright, Aidan Kissane, Kevin Bradshaw, Caroline McCann, Emily Martin, Jonathan Ryan & Alan Kenny. 3. Gillian Bradshaw, Kevin Bradshaw & Mary Finan (our volunteers) 4. Andy Curtin, Jimmy Doran, Frank Hunt, Martin O'Halloran & Ger Byrne. 5. Back Row: Mary Finan, Stephen Murphy, Cillian, Gillian, Jennifer, Martin, Caroline, Leonard, Kathryn Gibbons 6. Front Row: Emily Martin, Anna Carroll, Michael Lidden, Alan Kenny, Declan O'Shea, Johnny Mulhall, Ger Byrne Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 13

14 NRH News NRH Bids Fond Farewell Ode to Marcella Marcella our colleague has decided to leave, after so many years it's hard to believe. It's time at last for her to put up her feet, relax and unwind, with no deadlines to meet. She spent many a year in the caring profession, from the celtic tiger, right through to recession. Nursing her patients with such expertise, each challenge and problem she handled with ease. In the wards and the gym she was always on call, by night or by day she gave patients her all. Caring and sincere, thoughtful and kind, a more generous person would be so hard to find. Name: Susan Flynn Occupation: Occupational Therapist Years of service: 28 Name: Mary O'Colmain Occupation: Occupational Therapist Years of service: 22 They say all things must come to an end, today we are here to say goodbye to a friend. To work with Marcella has been such a pleasure, the memories will remain always a treasure. Being a mother of six, she'll be kept on her toes, helping with all their troubles and woes. All her grand children too will keep her from lazing, even remembering their names is simply amazing. May your retirement be all that you wish for, relaxing and happy, joyful and more. A special big hug from the O.P.D. crew, keep us in mind as we struggle without you! Name: John Byrne Occupation: Health Care Assistant Years of service: 34 Name: Paddy Murray Occupation: Health Care Assistant Years of service: 25 By Susan Holmes Name: Marcella Whelan Occupation: Care Assistant Years of service: 13 Name: Noreen McGeehin Occupation: Receptionist Years of service: 29 Above: Susan presents Marcella with a bouquet of flowers. Below: Sr. Aileen says goodbye on behalf of the board. Name: Vivienne Moffitt Occupation: Physiotherapy Manager Years of service: 38 Name: Clare Conway Occupation: Health Care Assistant Years of service: Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland

15 Gallery Farewell Salt of the earth, caring and kind men with such integrity can be so hard to find. A lifetime of caring for the less fortunate than us deserves a farewell with plenty of fuss. John, Paddy and Kevin have given their all the three of them can, without doubt, stand tall. They have toiled on the wards for so many years taking care of people through trauma and tears. Never a problem, a gripe or a moan reliability, sincerity and respect they have shown. They treated their patients with kindness and love no situation a problem when push came to shove. The rehab has lost a treasure in these guys there is a sadness in having to say our goodbyes. Replacing these men will be so hard to do of a combined 3 pairs, not even one shoe! Seemingly John is a gardener supreme his fruit and his veg taste just like a dream. If ever John, you are stuck for a buyer for the NRH, you can be a supplier. Paddy, though quiet and very much shyer could be without doubt, a very high flier. His secret is paintings, of very high class once seen, beyond doubt, are too hard to pass. Kevin a golfer, a somewhat dark horse could demolish the best on any golf course. Winter or summer this sport is his game putting all other players to absolute shame. Noreen McGeehin is also leaving her post we can t let her go without raising a toast. After all of these years she is bound to be weary listening day after day to everyone's query. Always so patient, so helpful, so kind whatever the question, the answer she d find. No more the sound of the different bell tones, no more sympathising with everyone s moans. Each individual with plans of their own they won t have to worry about being left alone. They have made such friendships over the years, they have been so popular throughout their careers. With sadness now we watch them all go without a doubt we all feel quite low. The four of them have all given so much remember us all and please, stay in touch. By Susan Holmes 1. Noreen, John, Paddy & Marcella. 2. Sr. Aileen signing 'Good Luck' cards. 3. Robert Kenny presenting Susan with a bouquet of flowers. 4. NRH staff enjoy the spread put on by the OT Department. Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 15

16 Accessible fly fishing It's that time of year again when anglers start counting down to the opening day for fishing on their local river. For those of us who use a wheelchair to get around and enjoy fishing, good access to quality fishing can be difficult. Thankfully, this is improving. A great example of what is achievable can be seen on the Avonmore River on the outskirts of Rathdrum Town in County Wicklow. Rathdrum Angling Club have done a superb job on making one of the best sections of the Avonmore River accessible. They have placed 3 fishing points along the stretch of river that will now give access to a section of the river that holds good numbers of wild brown trout. The only down-side is that as you access the fishing points from the gateway between the old mill and Rathdrum bridge, the incline of the pathway is quite steep, certainly not too steep to go down safely but it could be a bit of a challenge to get back up. To be fair to the Angling Club there is nothing they could have done. The season on the Avonmore starts on the 17th of March. For more details check out Rathdrum Angling Clubs website on If you know of any new accessible fishing points on any waterways near you we would love to hear about them. Seán Connick Your Satisfaction My Competence" Sole distributor for Guidosimplex products in Ireland 16 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland Unit 1 Block A, Waterford Road Business Park, New Ross, Co.Wexford. Tel; Mob; Because you deserve to drive

17 Now, I can decide to go out with family and friends Peristeen For predictable bowel management Now there s a way to get the predictability you want from your bowels. With Peristeen you no longer have to let constipation or faecal incontinence decide whether or not you can go out, or be with the people you care about. Peristeen is an anal irrigation system. It only requires water and is an effective alternative to other bowel management methods. It and can be administered either on your own or with assistance. Used routinely, daily or every other day, Peristeen offers you the confi dence to do more in your everyday life. For more information about Peristeen please contact your health care provider or fi ll out and return the coupon below for a free information leafl et and DVD. To order, call Freephone (PERSII0412) The Coloplast logo is a registered trademark of Coloplast A/S All rights reserved Coloplast A/S, 3050 Humlebæk, Denmark. Coloplast Limited First Floor, Nene Hall Peterborough Business Park Peterborough PE2 6FX Tel: Please complete and return to: Charter Healthcare, First Floor, Nene Hall, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough PE2 6FX Title: First name: I am interested to learn more about Peristeen Surname: Address: Town/City: PERSII0412 Postcode: Telephone: The information you provide to us will be used to process your orders and for general administrative and record-keeping purposes. We will only disclose your personal information (including details of the products you have purchased from us) to carefully selected third parties who provide services to us and/or if required by law. By submitting your information to us, you consent to Coloplast using your information in the manner described above and to us contacting you by and/or telephone and/or post in order to keep you informed of Coloplast products and services that we think may be of interest to you. If you would prefer that we do not contact you in these ways, please let us know by ticking the appropriate box(es) below and returning the information to us. please do not contact me by telephone please do not contact me by post please do not contact me by Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 17

18 Liz visits Tanzania on Training Programme Today 75% of people in developing countries who experience a Spinal Cord Injury will die within 18 months from preventable secondary complications like pressure sores. Spinal Cord Injury Patients Total: 16 Tetraplegic: 7 (2 complete) Paraplegics: 9 (1 incomplete) Last August Motivation, an international development charity supporting people with mobility disabilities was organising a visit to Tanzania as part of an educational programme. They rang the National Rehabilitation Hospital here in Ireland, and asked if a member of staff would like to take part. I volunteered. Before I knew it I had filled out the application form and was on a plane to Tanzania. Located on the foothills of Kilimanjaro, the hospital is a referral hospital for over 1.1 million people in Northern Tanzania, employing just 1,000 staff. On arriving in Moshi I met up with one of Motivation s partners, the Kilimanjaro Association of Spinal Injured (KASI) in Tanzania. Prior to travelling I had been in contact through s to Faustina Urassa, a volunteer worker with KASI. Even before I met her I knew I was going to like her, I could feel a warmth in her just from her s. My instincts were right, from the moment we met I knew we were going to get on. The Tanzanian sense of humour is very similar to the Irish humour and Faustina and I had such a laugh over things. At the age of just 24, and pregnant with her first child, a car accident left Faustina paralysed. Faustina was unable to move independently and became a virtual prisoner in her own home. Through the Motivation charity she received a Conservative Treatment: Tetraplegics patients receive skull traction for 6-8 weeks. Thoracic patients receive 12 weeks bed rest. Mortality Rate: In 2011 out of 51 SCI patients 15 died from complications. Many from pressure sores. Motivation's rough terrain wheelchair 18 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland

19 Liz in action wheelchair and something fundamental changed. She discovered her old energy, determination and spirit and now enjoys life with her beautiful daughter. Faustina works with other wheelchair users teaching skills that enable them to lead happy and productive lives. She is a wonderful role model to people with a spinal cord injury and with her get up and go attitude she proves that there is life after spinal injury. I also had the opportunity to meet KASI s director Zacharia. Supported by Motivation over a number of years, KASI acts as a role model for other fledgling self-help groups in Tanzania. Their scope is wide and includes visiting newly injured people in hospital and later at home, educating them and their families about living with a disability, as well as providing peer group training in week-long camps. During my time in Tanzania I worked on the orthopaedic ward in Moshi hospital. There were 93 patients but only 57 beds. The remainder of patients slept mostly on Abdullah, Liz and Faustina in the new 'Motivation' office, Tanzania canvas stretchers and the odd trolley, which were put along corridors or wherever there was a space. When I introduced myself to the nurses, I explained that I wasn t there to criticize them at all, that I wouldn t just be observing, that I d be working as part of a team. That seemed to go down very well. One of the biggest challenges was that the 16 people with spinal injuries were in among the rest of the patients in the ward. I explained that it would be better if they were all in one ward as they required specialised care. The nurses hadn t received specific training in caring for patients with a spinal cord injury, so the idea was that I d run three workshops. But often with as few as four nurses caring for 93 patients at a time, and some working up to 80 hours a week, the nurses just didn t have the time or the energy for formal workshops. Instead I supported them on the job, getting across the basics of skin, bladder and bowel care regimes. Felix mastering the art of transferring While the nurses did have knowledge of pressure sores they didn t realise how quickly they can happen with spinal cord patients. Although the nurses were turning the patients, due to their workload they weren t turning them regularly enough. I gave them advice on turning patients to prevent damage to the skin, how to position the arms and legs, and how to make sure the neck was adequately supported. Dressings and general supplies were very basic and quite limited. It was quite frustrating when we ran out of things like gloves and wipes for cleaning as I d have to go off and look for them and it could take ages to find things. I was amazed at how the patient s relatives wanted to help. No matter what you said, they d take it on board and make sure they did it. We had trainee nurses too and they were great students. They were very keen to learn and they all took notes. That was great to see, the next generation of nurses having a real interest in spinal cord injuries. I sometimes went with Faustina to visit people in the community. One day we visited Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland 19

20 Elidaima pictured above with his wife and son. As a parting gift I was presented with a papaya from their own tree. Elidaima, a young man who had fallen from a tree while picking avocados. Elidaima lives with his wife and son on the outskirts of Moshi. He was very dejected when we called to see him and didn t have much hope for his future. However he began to pick up and smile when we told him how well he was actually doing and how lucky he was to receive the level of care his wife gave him. His initial wheelchair enables him to get up and sit outside in the sun for an hour or so each day but to be independent Elidaima needs a wheelchair which is suitable for the rough terrain he lives in. Through funds raised in Ireland before I travelled I was able to order a new rough terrain wheelchair and contoured pressure relieving cushion from Motivation which I m delighted to report should arrive for him shortly. Another memorable trip was when we visited a young man called Felix, who was totally dependent on his brother. He was able to push himself in his wheelchair but his brother was doing everything else for him; lifting him into the wheelchair, washing him and dressing him. Faustina said. Now look here, you re a young guy, of course you re able to do transfers. Within one week the guy was transferring perfectly. I was amazed at how one visit can make such a huge difference and what an impact Faustina can make. She s a very special lady. Motivation, together with their innovative training programmes and range of low-cost wheelchairs are transforming lives and giving disabled people independence, confidence Mary was involved in an RTA as a teenager which resulted in a spinal injury. She is one of the many people who has benefitted from peer support training from KASI and is now leading an independent life thanks to their support and guidance. and hope for the future. Their wheelchairs cost only 200, this includes a technician calling out to measure the person for the chair and a pressure relieving cushion. 'Motivation Charity' gave me this wonderful opportunity to visit Tanzania and hopefully I have had some impact regarding education in spinal cord injuries. I am sure the new SCI unit in the hospital will be a welcome addition both for the patients and the nurses. A follow up on my training programme is in progress. By Liz Croxon, Clinical Facilitator, NRH New Nationwide Carers Directory Launched A1 Carers is an independent directory of non medical independent private carers offering clients home help and personal assistance to help with independent living. Based in Dublin, A1Carers was set up by Fran Moran who has been working in the Irish health service since The purpose of the site is to make it easier for clients and carers to get in touch with each other. A1 Carers was designed for clients who prefer to stay living in their own home after losing partial or full independence. This site aims to help clients who are looking for a carer. Carers can put their details on the website. Clients looking for a carer can view their details and contact them. Carers must have Gardaí / Police clearance and we advise that you check any references provided by carers. A1Carers do not hire carers, we are just a directory. Individual clients requiring carers do the hiring. Carers can buy uniforms on the site. Clients can buy books, beds, wheelchairs etc on the site. We are looking for new carers to join up all over Ireland. For more information: Web: 20 Spinal News - Spring Spinal Injuries Ireland

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