Spinal cord injury patients rehabilitate virtually amid global pandemic

WEST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Individuals living with spinal cord injuries are facing urgent and undiscussed needs amid the global pandemic.

"This is a tough time. Isolation is hard for people and it is certainly harder for those with disabilities and spinal cord injuries," said Dr. Steven Kirshblum, Senior Medical Officer and Director of the Spinal Cord Program at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.

The risk of contracting a severe form of the virus and their inability to properly social distance due to their reliance on personalized care, are dangers that individuals with spinal cord injuries must navigate.

Acknowledging the various needs of their patients, the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation has adapted its services using technology to maintain their spinal cord injury education program up and running.

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"In the very beginning because of COVID, it was extremely lonely. I didn't have any visitors so there was very little communication, but as time went on I don't think COVID affected my treatment and therapy here at Kessler," said Anthony Bosi, a spinal cord injury patient.
The generous grant funding from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation has allowed the institute to continue providing their patients with virtual educational classes in addition to their individualized care and comprehensive treatment.

At Kessler, the complex medical, physical, functional and emotional needs of their patients are addressed by a physician-led team of spinal cord injury specialists, rehabilitation nurses; physical, occupational, speech, respiratory and recreation therapists, psychologists and neuropsychologists, dietitians, as well as other clinical and support staff, who work arduously to ensure patients live a healthy and independent life.

"At Kessler, we strive to find the best ways to be able to help them. We did it in the past, we did it in the present and will continue to do it in the future," said Dr. Kirshblum.

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