Paralyzed After a Crash: Medical Equipment and Supplies
Posted by Aubrey at February 8th, 2017
A study by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation reports that 5.6 million people, or roughly 1 in 50 Americans, are paralyzed to some degree. Sudden paraplegia resulting from a car accident can be shocking and creates the immediate need for specialized medical equipment and supplies. The spinal cord contains a large bundle of nerves that is part of the central nervous system and receives signals from the brain. These signals allow for sensations, such as heat and cold, and also controls movement. A serious injury to the spinal cord can sever the connection from the brain to the body, disrupting both movement and sensations in the lower half of the body. A range of medical supplies may be necessary to accommodate the loss of feeling and movement that a person experiences after a traumatic injury to the spinal cord.
A wheelchair is typically the first piece of equipment that someone will need when they are paralyzed after a car accident. There are two types of wheelchairs: manual and power. Manual wheelchairs are usually lightweight and easy to push, with a focus on being able to be used heavily on a daily basis. Power wheelchairs are generally not used by paraplegics unless they have some condition that would prevent the use of manual wheelchairs, such as advanced age or an arm injury. Bathroom aides are another important tool used by paraplegics. These can include wheel-in shower chairs, stationary shower chairs, bathtub lifts, and other tools to help paraplegics remain mobile in the bathroom. Another common tool is the grab bar, which assists in stability while transferring, both in the bathroom and throughout the house of a paraplegic.
Some homes must be refitted to accommodate a paraplegic occupant. A home elevator is necessary for homes with more than one floor and can come in many forms beyond that of a traditional elevator lift. Inclined platform lifts are often used in these situations to help a user up a set of stairs by raising and lowering a flat platform upon which a wheelchair can sit. Porch lifts are the outdoor version of inclined platform lifts and allow for the user to move easier out of doors.