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Spinal cord injury: meet Brian

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Brian's carer-assisted travels around Asia - spinal cord injury

Carer-assisted travels in South East Asia

25 year-old Brian has been a Helping Hands customer since October 2015. He has a C5 complete spinal injury that means he is non-weight-bearing, using a manual chair to get around. With support a Live-in PA, Brian continues to lead the active lifestyle he loves. In February 2016, Brian and his PA Raluca travelled to Sri Lanka, commencing a nine-week trip around South East Asia.

Head of Clinical Care at Helping Hands, explains the nursing-led support on offer to Brian:

“I trained Raluca in how to manage Brian’s clinical needs while they were away, including fundamental higher-level procedures like bowel care. She is confident in assisting Brian to use his wheelchair and sliding board for transfers. The clinical team were available to support them whilst they were abroad, and we arranged with Raluca to send us weekly updates so we could be sure everything was in hand.

“Brian has always travelled extensively, but since experiencing a spinal injury, his travel has been less frequent. Having Live-in Care gave him the confidence to plan with his PA a three-month trip around Asia. Between them they organised everything and took their equipment. It was an experience for Raluca but most of all has given Brian back his independence and enabled him to achieve his goals.”

Confident in Raluca’s ability to carry out his support plan in unfamiliar settings, Brian experienced the excitement of a safari, whale-watching, and a Hong Kong Sevens rugby match with total peace of mind. The relationship between a Live-in Carer and a customer was especially crucial for Brian: “When you’re going away, you need someone like Raluca who you know you’ll get on with for that amount of time!”

Raluca herself wasn’t apprehensive at all: “It was the second time I’d been in placement with Brian, and we get on really well. I wasn’t worried about being able to carry out Brian’s support plan while we were away at all – we were well-prepared and had lots of supplies.”

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