The Kenyan Paraplegic Organization, a local NGO is in the process of establishing the KPO Chandaria Spinal Injury Rehabilitation and Trauma Center on a 12-acre piece of land in Olooloitikoshi, in Kajiado County, 30km from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city and home to the world’s famous Maasai community. The Rehabilitation Centre is a response to overwhelming demand for maintaining the long-term health status of people with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) in recognition to the fact that;
- They are at risk of health issues that are specifically related to their SCI, including a range of secondary conditions e.g. Urinary tract infections (UTIs), hypotension, compromised respiratory functions, chronic pain and pressure ulcers, which can be a major cause of morbidity and mortality. While some of these complications occur primarily within the pre-hospital and acute care phase after injury, others may appear at any stage. There is evidence that, with appropriate management, many of these secondary conditions are preventable and they therefore require ongoing access to both general and specialist rehabilitation services,
- People with SCI also experience a range of activity limitations and participation restrictions in areas such as mobility (e.g. changing body position, transferring, walking), self-care activities (e.g. bathing, dressing, toileting, eating), domestic activities (e.g. cleaning, cooking, caring for others), education, employment, maintenance of social relationships, and participation in leisure activities. Involvement in physical activity has benefits for productivity, physiological health and well-being, but adherence to a regular exercise programme may be hard to maintain if not well structured and internalized into daily routine.
- They are also at risk of developing the same health issues as the general population and therefore require access to mainstream services such as health promotion, preventive care (immunization, health screening), and treatment for acute and chronic illness, and therefore strategic partnership between rehabilitation and mainstream
The Rehabilitation and Trauma Center recognizes that all spinal cord injuries are different, and therefore a unique individualized plan will be designed to help the person function and succeed in everyday life with an aim of:
- Helping the person understand his or her injuries, and details regarding his or her care,
- Helping the person become as independent as possible in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, eating, dressing, grooming, wheelchair mobility skills, bed mobility, transfers, and wheelchair mobility skills, amongst others. ADLs can be difficult for an individual with a spinal cord injury; however, through the rehabilitation process, individuals with SCI may be able to live independently in the community with or without full-time attendant care, depending on the level of their injury,
- Helping the person learn to accept a new lifestyle, especially pertaining to sexual, recreational, and housing options, teaching new strategies and techniques to learn and master new and alternative ways of carrying out activities and how to instruct caregivers in how to assist them,
- Preparing them for implementation of a health maintenance plan,
- Support with suitable assistive devices and technology including teaching the patient how to transfer from different positions, such as from a wheelchair into bed or an adapted vehicle, Investigating options for returning to previous interests as well as developing new pursuits, Progressive exercise to improve, restore or maintain function and resistance and
- Support and education for the caregivers in care and support of the patients, use of assistive devices as well as possibilities of modifying the patient’s living environment to improve independence. Community participation is an important aspect in maintaining quality of life.
- At the community level, follow-up care will be provided to address adherence following discharge from rehabilitation services, particularly during the first 12 months after injury, including access to ongoing mainstream or specialized medical are in the event of secondary complications, in this case utilizing the existing community health care network of volunteers established by the Line Ministry.
- Collaborate with the Line Ministry and other health care providers to access persons with SCI to mainstream health-care services utilizing innovative approaches including medical camps, mobile health services, health promotion on risk factors, prevention and medical care to address acute and chronic illnesses that are also present in the general population.
- Open to ongoing clinical research to determine the best possible rehabilitation measures to restore function in different contexts, explores consumer perspectives and experiences of rehabilitation to continuously improve services to effectively meet the needs of people with SCI in preparing them for the transition to living in the community