Utah Help Resources for Spinal Cord Injury Patients and Their Family Members
It’s not easy to adjust to the effects of a spinal cord injury (SCI), but you don’t have to do it alone. There are numerous organizations in Utah that are dedicated to helping and supporting SCI patients. If you or one of your family members recently suffered a spinal injury in an accident, you may find these local resources helpful for you and your loved ones. When you feel ready, you may also wish to consider talking to a Salt Lake City spinal cord injury lawyer about getting compensated for your medical bills, lost income, and other hardships that have resulted from your accident.
Utah Spinal Cord Injury Resources and Organizations
A spinal cord injury takes a devastating toll on your emotional state and your physical health. Injuries to the spine often result in permanent paralysis, which causes many patients to struggle with depression as they adjust to their new physical limitations.
When dealing with these enormous life changes, it can be therapeutic for SCI patients and their loved ones to connect with professional organizations that have experience working with traumatic spinal injuries. If you have been feeling lost or overwhelmed, you may find the resources below to be beneficial for you and your loved ones.
National Spinal Cord Injury Association, Utah Chapter
The National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1948 to help improve the quality of life for SCI patients throughout the United States. Toward accomplishing that goal, the NSCIA’s role is to connect SCI patients with “a network of peer mentors, advocacy groups, education, and other resources to alleviate some of the impact people experience during their transition and throughout their life.”
The NSCIA has established local chapters across America, including one in Utah. There are four ways to contact the NSCIA’s Utah chapter:
- Call (801) 688-5320
- Send an email to nsciautah (at) gmail (dot) com
- Fill out the contact form on the NSCIA Utah chapter website
- Send mail to the following address:
Blas Juarez Sr.
NSCIA UTAH CHAPTER
P.O. Box 271205
Salt Lake City, UT 84127
While the chapter is headquartered in Salt Lake City, it serves SCI patients throughout the state of Utah.
University of Utah Rehabilitation Center, SCI Program
The University of Utah Rehabilitation Center is another excellent resource for SCI patients throughout the state. The Rehabilitation Center features the only CARF-accredited SCI program in Utah, and, according to its website, provides the “most comprehensive rehabilitation program in the region.”
The services offered by the Rehabilitation Center, which are available to patients with paraplegia and tetraplegia (quadriplegia), focus on areas including but not limited to:
- Driving with SCI
- Education and counseling for family members of SCI patients
- Fitting and training patients to use wheelchairs and/or prosthetic devices
- Food, nutrition, and swallowing
- Job and career counseling
- Marriage and sexuality
- Patient referrals
- Social services
- Treating alcohol and drug abuse
- Using assistive technology to communicate with others
To contact the Rehabilitation Center, call (801) 581-2267 or (800) 824-2073.
Therapists, Support Groups, and Emergency Hotlines for SCI and Depression
If you’ve been struggling with depression after sustaining a spinal cord injury, know that you aren’t alone. Depression affects an estimated 20 million Americans, and is very common among SCI patients.
Find a Therapist in Utah for Traumatic Injury Patients
While there is no simple or overnight cure for depression, there are many prescription medications that can help to dramatically ease the symptoms. Many patients find that the best course of treatment involves a combination of medication, which is prescribed by a psychiatrist, and ongoing counseling or therapy sessions with a psychologist.
Psychology Today provides an extensive directory of therapists in Utah, which you can sort by filters like insurance, age, religious faith, and specialties (including therapists specializing in chronic pain, depression, coping skills, and traumatic brain injury).
TRAILS Support Group: Sports Activities and Emotional Counseling
You may also benefit from attending a support group, particularly if the group has a special focus on SCI. In addition to the services listed above, the University of Utah Rehabilitation Center offers a unique support group called TRAILS (Therapeutic Recreation And Independent Life Styles), which focuses on modified physical activities designed to help SCI patients stay moving. These activities include:
- Hand Cycling
- Target Shooting
- Wheelchair Tennis
TRAILS also includes a six-week SCI forum, which addresses “physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual wellness” by focusing on specific topics like transportation, recreation, sexuality, and learning to use medical devices.
The TRAILS program also features a separate SCI Wellness component, which involves physical activities that include “weight management, nutritional consultation, massage, upper extremity preservation, health risk management, yoga, circuit resistance training, driving simulation, and brain gym.”
For more information about TRAILS, you can call the Rehabilitation Center number above at (801) 581-2267, or call (801) 587-3422. To request an appointment about TRAILS, call (801) 581-2526, or fill out an online appointment request form with the University of Utah Rehabilitation Center.
If you ever feel like you or a loved one is going through a crisis or needs emergency help, call 9-1-1 right away. Additionally, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (800) 273-8255.
Talk to a Salt Lake City SCI Attorney About Getting Compensated
If you have any legal questions about the value of your spinal cord injury case, please do not hesitate to call the Utah personal injury law firm of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143 for a completely free and confidential legal consultation. Though based in Salt Lake City, we handle SCI claims and lawsuits throughout the state of Utah. We are more than happy to travel to your location if you are unable to travel due to your injuries.