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How can I help my husband after a spinal cord injury?

Anyone involved in a serious car crash realizes how quickly everything can change. If your husband has suffered a spinal cord injury, your lives are likely on hold. The whole family may feel the effects. 

You are no doubt dealing with a mountain of medical bills. At the same time, a significant source of household income is gone. Do not let worry over payment stop your husband from getting the care he needs. You should not have to pay for someone else’s negligence. 

What types of ailments are possible? 

Spinal cord injuries differ according to the location of the damage and the degree to which the patient has lost feeling and function. Injuries typically affect the strength, bodily functions and sense of touch below the injured vertebrae. Most victims suffer some loss of sensation and altered muscle control. In severe cases, patients may be completely paralyzed and have trouble breathing on their own. Your husband will likely fall somewhere in between the two extremes. A proper evaluation is essential in identifying his specific needs. 

What does rehabilitation entail? 

Your husband’s life will likely be permanently changed by his accident, but do not give up hope. Many spinal cord injury victims can lead full, joyful lives. One key is having an effective rehabilitation team. The team, assembled within a month or two after the injury, may include a physician, physical therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists and a care manager. These professionals work with your husband to speed his recovery and maximize his independence. 

What can I do to support him? 

If your husband needs mobility support such as a wheelchair, you may need to widen doorways and install hard surface flooring. He may also benefit from lower counters in the kitchen and bathroom. You may need special kitchen and laundry appliances. If your husband wishes to continue driving, he will need a modified vehicle. You can both benefit from mental health care, individually and as a couple. This can be an extremely difficult time for everyone in the family, but with love and patience, you can make the adjustment.