Tim’s story, living with Spinal Cord Injury
Tim, 40, has been receiving Live-in support for his C5 complete spinal injury since September 2014. Using a hand cycle unit, he clocks up miles every day cycling around town and further afield.
For Julie May, Clinical Nurse Specialist, it is important that Tim’s care reflects his wishes and enables him to lead his preferred lifestyle:
“People with spinal cord injuries are observed to be living longer, but there is often little or no help and assistance for their rehabilitation back into society. Our Carers have helped Tim to lead a fulfilled and independent life in his own home, near his family. While a spinal cord injury can be devastating, Tim believes it shouldn’t prevent him from getting the most out of life and our Carers inspire a positive future for Tim.”
With that in mind, Tim’s Helping Hands PAs have not only been on hand not only to assist with his clinical care needs and everyday routine, but with his passion for charity bike rides.
“The last big event I did was a week-long ride in Cuba in October 2015,” shares Tim. “We flew in to Havana and got bussed out to starting points to complete each section of the race. It was just over 400km to raise money for my charity, Regain. The main challenge was definitely the heat!
“My advice to others wishing to take part in a similar event is to stay fit and keep healthy. Working towards an end goal – like a race – keeps you motivated and gives you a reason to get fitter, which is something that’s really important for people with spinal injuries.”
Accompanying Tim was Osborne, his Helping Hands Live-in PA. Friendly and easy-going, Osborne’s personality proved a great match for Tim. His specialist training and understanding of person-centred care meant that Tim could be confident his support needs could be met whilst abroad. Osborne reflects on his approach to care in an unfamiliar environment and the importance of being responsive and proactive as a Carer:
“A lot of the rooms weren’t built for disabled access and due to some of the timings we had to switch up the care plan a bit. For example, we sometimes had to carry out some aspects of Tim’s morning routine in the evening. We have a great relationship (we’re still mates even though I live in a different part of the country now), so we were able to discuss it. There was some collaboration in finding out what would work and creating a flexible routine, but Tim definitely took the lead and directed me most of the time!
“Helping Hands supported me with further training, information and advice about spinal injury care and autonomic dysreflexia, and I was trained to complete bowel care. While we were out in Cuba, Helping Hands let me know who’d be available to support us beforehand, which was great. I felt confident about meeting Tim’s needs throughout the trip and we had such a great time I didn’t want it to end.”
Providing people with quality nursing-led support and care that enables them to stay at home, enjoy the degree of independence they desire, and pursue their goals is the clinical team’s priority. “The process with Helping Hands has run a lot smoother than what I’ve experienced in the past”, says Tim. “The company’s selection of staff is great – both office staff and PAs are of a high standard”. We are incredibly proud to have such a positive impact on our customers’ lives.
Contact our team of experts today if you like Tim have a spinal cord injury and would like support from someone like Osborne.