Road accidents, falling from heights and workplace accidents are the most common causes behind spine and head injuries in India. Around 80% of these accidents happen to the low-income group people, of which 90% are men in the age group of 18-40 and usually the main breadwinners of the family. Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a life-altering experience not only for the person but for everyone around them.
It has a major impact on them with loss of personal space, independence, individuality and relationships. This paralysis of the entire families’ resources and puts them into poverty, isolation, divorce, depression and suicide, loss of child education, loss of job and self-neglect. It is also a huge socio-economic downturn with a loss of productivity for the country. Following spine surgery, those patients who have a disability will require rehabilitation. It is a process of restoring a person to good functional independence through various methods of therapy.
Rehabilitation helps people gain greater independence after illness, injury or surgery. It is the only hope for independent living and avoiding complications. Rehabilitation includes physical, occupational, mental, intellectual, speech, spiritual, vocational and community-based. To undergo rehabilitation, an understanding of the goals and outcome for the individuals’ problem, suitable environment, modern facilities and experienced team is essential. There are two main goals of rehabilitation, one to relearn activities of daily living for selfcare, independence and vocational skills to earn their living for inclusion into the community and secondly learn how to prevent complications from their disability for the rest of their life. There is enough scientific evidence that rehabilitation improves the quality of life. It brings confidence and encouragement to start a new life after injury or illness.
Chennai metropolitan area is the fastest growing and 4th densely populated city in India with a population of 9.8 million. Chennai is the Healthcare capital of India, but, lacks a comprehensive rehabilitation facility.
Rehabilitation requires specialized healthcare to improve, maintain or restore physical strength, cognition and mobility and functionality. In the private sector, in India, rehabilitation has not been given due importance due to many reasons, partly because of the lack of trained medical and paramedical staff and lack of specific infrastructure.
Comprehensive rehabilitation is needed for patients with spinal cord and brain injuries, stroke and neurological disorders, children with physical and mental disabilities, elderly patients who need postsurgical rehabilitation and all other specialized services in the area of rehabilitation.
The rehabilitation should be in the form of medical, physical, occupational, vocational, mental, speech and other complementary therapies for faster recovery. It is unfortunate to note that India still lacks good rehabilitation facilities for the patients suffering from SCI and its aftermath. It is imperative to identify the best rehabilitation center with advanced care and facilities, follow the expert advice and most importantly stay positive to live independently.