A Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) will affect every function of the body below the level of the lesion caused by the trauma.
Because the effects of an SCI are likely to be so widespread (and may in addition have psychological consequences), it is critical that a holistic (whole-person) approach to treatment, rehabilitation and care is adopted from the early hours or days of injury. Bed rest is generally required but bed rest without specialist care may lead to pressure sores and many other complications that can take months to heal. The short and long term reaction of spinal cord injured people to drugs may be greatly exaggerated.
The principles of management and the treatment of patients with spinal injuries differ from those for the non-paralysed population.
The United Kingdom is a world leader in the immediate treatment, rehabilitation and long term support of those with SCI and UK specialists have wide knowledge to share with those in other countries. But those with knowledge can still learn from the experiences in other less advanced countries. SPIRIT’s mission is to identify the best practices and spread the word worldwide.
Management systems for patients with spinal injuries vary a great deal between and within countries. In countries where there is no specialist SCI treatment infrastructure, death due to complications is the almost inevitable outcome, in hospital or shortly after discharge.
There is no single skill that can transform poor care into efficient modern treatment.