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Living with Spinal Cord Injury

Overview

About 40% of all people with spinal cord injuries are now over the age of forty-five, and 25% have had their injury for twenty years or more. We now live at a time when medical advances have made it possible for those with spinal cord injuries to live an essentially normal life span, and to lead full, meaningful, and productive lives. As is true for their friends and colleagues, they work, raise families, and compete in sports.

The wear and tear associated with aging and SCI ...

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Overview

About 40% of all people with spinal cord injuries are now over the age of forty-five, and 25% have had their injury for twenty years or more. We now live at a time when medical advances have made it possible for those with spinal cord injuries to live an essentially normal life span, and to lead full, meaningful, and productive lives. As is true for their friends and colleagues, they work, raise families, and compete in sports.

The wear and tear associated with aging and SCI means that these individuals must deal with the fact that the effects of normal aging are superimposed on those of the spinal cord injury, and activities that once might have been easy in many cases become increasingly difficult. Perhaps pushing a wheelchair up a hill or transferring in and out of a car is more challenging than it once was. Heart disease, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and pressure sores are common health ailments specific to those with SCI; declining financial resources and aging caregivers are common social problems.

This is the definitive guide to dealing with the major challenges faced by those with spinal cord injuries, as related to health, finances, and their social support system. It is primarily designed to identify medical and nonmedical problems that individuals may face as they live with SCI for a number of years. Medical issues are considered by body system and include discussions of the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system, the urinary system, the musculoskeletal system, the skin, and psychological issues.

Following these discussions of common medical issues related to SCI is a section that deals with mobility and transportation issues, including wheelchairs, the selection of vans and minivans, and the usefulness of a fresh look at rehabilitation issues. A section on managing finances includes a chapter on dealing with home health attendants while appendices provide information for caregivers, a glossary of commonly used terms in SCI, and a helpful list of resources. A wealth of practical advice by other people with spinal cord injuries as well as experts in the field has also been provided to help tackle the daily challenges faced by those with SCI.

This book will bring a better quality of life to the reader living with SCI. Through vigilance and planning, a person with spinal cord injury can age gracefully and have a good quality of life for many years.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Diane M. Hartwig, MS, ACNP, BC, CRRN (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Description: This book addresses issues that persons who are aging with spinal cord injuries (SCI) experience and options to manage these issues. It is written at the consumer level for the person with the SCI and for persons who care for and about them.
Purpose: The book does a nice job of meeting the author's objectives of identifying problems that persons with SCI may encounter as they age and providing both hope and practical advice on how to address the issues. Aging with a SCI is of increasing interest to both persons with SCI and their healthcare providers. The book is timely and effective.
Audience: The author writes for persons with SCI, their family and/or caregivers. The book is a thorough review of most areas of care and complications. Basic information is provided at a readable level. Appropriately, readers would have to access further medical advice and input from their healthcare providers to address issues and problems discussed in the book. The author suggests sound practical applications of the information presented.
Features: The book is quite thorough in the areas of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, skin and dental problems, emotional well-being, wheelchairs and mobility, vans and minivans, upgrades in rehabilitation, finances and insurance, and attendant care, with a chapter devoted to each topic. The book is comprehensive without going into too much depth and becoming overwhelming. The appendixes include a note for caregivers, a glossary, and a list of resources. All address the basics and are helpful to readers, but are not going to answer very specific questions, which is appropriate for this level of book. Shortcomings include the very small print in the musculoskeletal system chapter below the illustrations. This print is essentially unreadable, a significant problem since it is intended to be instructional. Additionally, one cannot help but notice the omission of a section on sexuality, sexual function, and sexual health. This is an unfortunate lapse, because otherwise the book is quite thorough in addressing essential topics. The author also tends to touch on a number of issues in the early chapters, but does not develop them at that time in enough depth for a good understanding, thus leaving readers with questions early on. Initially, the impression is that problematic issues are identified or listed without direction as to how to address them, although most of them are addressed in detail later in specific chapters. It would have been helpful if the author indicated that these topics would be clarified further in the chapters that follow.
Assessment: This is a good general overview for patients of topics they need to be aware of as they age with their SCI. I would have liked to have seen some references for opinions, treatments, and medications that are suggested. Though all seem appropriate, there are multiple other options available and treatments will vary depending on the patient and the healthcare provider. Additionally, a chapter on sexuality is very obviously missing.
Saudi Medical Journal
"A thorough and comprehensive review of pertinent information for a person living with SCI. I found the format particularly appealing as it was clear, concise, and readable for a wide range of persons. The diagrams [are] easy to understand; explicit and important points for consideration [are] highlighted effectively." — National Spinal Cord Injury Association

"...provides practical advice on how to tackle challenges related to living with spinal cord injuries... a very good buy." - Saudi Medical Journal

From The Critics
Reviewer: Diane M. Hartwig, MS, ACNP, BC, CRRN(Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Description: This book addresses issues that persons who are aging with spinal cord injuries (SCI) experience and options to manage these issues. It is written at the consumer level for the person with the SCI and for persons who care for and about them.
Purpose: The book does a nice job of meeting the author's objectives of identifying problems that persons with SCI may encounter as they age and providing both hope and practical advice on how to address the issues. Aging with a SCI is of increasing interest to both persons with SCI and their healthcare providers. The book is timely and effective.
Audience: The author writes for persons with SCI, their family and/or caregivers. The book is a thorough review of most areas of care and complications. Basic information is provided at a readable level. Appropriately, readers would have to access further medical advice and input from their healthcare providers to address issues and problems discussed in the book. The author suggests sound practical applications of the information presented.
Features: The book is quite thorough in the areas of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, skin and dental problems, emotional well-being, wheelchairs and mobility, vans and minivans, upgrades in rehabilitation, finances and insurance, and attendant care, with a chapter devoted to each topic. The book is comprehensive without going into too much depth and becoming overwhelming. The appendixes include a note for caregivers, a glossary, and a list of resources. All address the basics and are helpful to readers, but are not going to answer very specific questions, which is appropriate for this level of book. Shortcomings include the very small print in the musculoskeletal system chapter below the illustrations. This print is essentially unreadable, a significant problem since it is intended to be instructional. Additionally, one cannot help but notice the omission of a section on sexuality, sexual function, and sexual health. This is an unfortunate lapse, because otherwise the book is quite thorough in addressing essential topics. The author also tends to touch on a number of issues in the early chapters, but does not develop them at that time in enough depth for a good understanding, thus leaving readers with questions early on. Initially, the impression is that problematic issues are identified or listed without direction as to how to address them, although most of them are addressed in detail later in specific chapters. It would have been helpful if the author indicated that these topics would be clarified further in the chapters that follow.
Assessment: This is a good general overview for patients of topics they need to be aware of as they age with their SCI. I would have liked to have seen some references for opinions, treatments, and medications that are suggested. Though all seem appropriate, there are multiple other options available and treatments will vary depending on the patient and the healthcare provider. Additionally, a chapter on sexuality is very obviously missing.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932603002
  • Publisher: Demos Medical Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 7/1/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 179

Meet the Author

Dr. Adrian Cristian is Chief of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine as well as as Chief of the Amputee Care Program at the Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and its graduate medical training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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Table of Contents

Cardiovascular System
The Respiratory System
The Gastrointestinal System
The Genitourinary System
The Musculoskeletal System
Skin Care
Your Emotional Well Being
Mobility Issues
Wheelchairs
Vans and Minivans
A Fresh Look at Rehabilitation
Financial Issues
Managing Your Finances
Managing A Home Health Attendant
Insurance Issues
Appendices
A Note for Caregivers
Glossary
Resources
References
Index

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