How SIA is responding to the Coronavirus
The 50,000+ people in the UK who live with spinal cord injury (SCI) are one of the highest risk categories in any planning for a Coronavirus epidemic. SCI people need information, advocacy and support now more than ever.
SIA is re-deploying elements of its specialist nursing, advocacy, and peer support network teams to offer telephone, email and on-line expertise to support all SCI people who have concerns related to their spinal cord injury because of the impact of the Coronavirus epidemic. The framework of this response is around three vital areas:
An advice line to speak to our expanded nurse specialist service
Regularly updated advice and support on SCI related to the Coronavirus and Covid-19, through briefings, videos and social media links
Regular updates to the SCI community on anything that is advised by statutory bodies relevant to them
- Advocate & Campaign:
Increase to the number of advocates available through our advice line to address concerns about ongoing availability of care and appropriate SCI-health management if admitted to hospital
Representing all SCI people to government, NHS and the wider care systems to ensure the priority needs of SCI people are being considered at every step
Continue to offer SCI people and their families the opportunity to speak to a Peer Support Officer via telephone or video conferencing
Refer, link and triage SCI people to other support services, charities and advice as needed
In this way we will be able to provide expert information, advocacy and support to SCI people for the duration of the emerging Coronavirus epidemic.
How you can connect to this work
All advice sheets, videos and links for healthcare professionals as well as SCI people, will be and can already be found at: SCI and Coronavirus and through the hashtag #CoronavirusSCI
For Advocacy and advice contact us through our helpline: 0800 980 0501
Working remotely throughout
We must and will prioritise the safety of our staff and volunters, many of whom are also spinal cord injured, enabling them to work safely and with confidence, as well as the spinal cord injured people we support. The last thing we want to do is to be the unwitting transmitters of Coronavirus to other SCI people
With this in mind, we will continue to provide essential support at this difficult time but will be doing so in different ways.
- All face to face meetings by our Outreach team will be cancelled until further notice and replaced with telephone or video meetings
- Where our SCI Nurse Specialists need to visit SCI people to advise on urgent and sometimes life-threatening care issues, this will be done following a risk assessment and additional protective measures adopted where appropriate.
- Meetings involving non-service users will, where practical, be held remotely rather than face to face.
These teams and other members of the Outreach teams will continue to support SCI people at every stage of their SCI journey, but via telephone and video conferencing rather than face to face.
We hope you consider all of the above as the best way we can support and represent our community across the UK, who are rightly concerned at this tough time for everyone. We would love to hear from you directly about what you think we can do more to inform, advocate and support SCI people, and to find out what you are doing and the support we can offer.