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Supporting clinicians to manage the psychosocial needs of spinal cord injury patients

Supporting clinicians to manage the psychosocial needs of spinal cord injury patients

In celebration of World Spinal Cord Injury Day and Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week 2016, the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) State Spinal Cord Injury Service (SSCIS) today released a new toolkit aimed at supporting the psychosocial needs of people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI).

The purpose of the day and week is to raise awareness about what it means to live with a SCI. People who have a SCI live active lives and contribute to the community in many different ways.

There is however, a significant amount of trauma associated with acquiring a SCI, and many people will struggle to manage the grief for the loss of their previous way of life. Some will adapt more easily, while others will experience depression and other mental health issues. Most will need support to transition to an entirely new, different and sometimes challenging lifestyle.

To help address these challenges for SCI patients, their families and carers, the ACI’s SSCIS Psychosocial Strategy has developed a toolkit to support clinicians in understanding and managing psychosocial issues associated with acute and long-term SCI.

The Emotional Wellbeing Toolkit: A Clinicians Guide to working with Spinal Cord Injury initiative covers topics such as managing grief and trauma, common psychological and emotional issues experienced by people with a SCI, and strategies for handling challenging behaviours.

The Toolkit also highlights ways to distinguish between grief and depression, and has a number of brief standardised tools to help clinicians assess mood, anxiety, pain, trauma, substance use and psychosis.

The steering committee responsible for the development of the Toolkit has included experts such as clinical psychologists, allied health professionals and nurses, as well as strong representation and input from SCI consumers.

The production of the Toolkit and related materials was undertaken with the support of the Prince of Wales Foundation from the David Z Burger Foundation.

For more information and to access the Toolkit, visit here.

Media contact

Ashley Langton
Communications Manager | Agency for Clinical Innovation
Ph: 9464 4710 | Mob: 0418 421 956
E: ashley.langton@health.nsw.gov.au

The Agency for Clinical Innovation works with clinicians, consumers and managers to design and promote better healthcare for NSW.