Those who have never experienced a spinal cord injury and see people living as quadriplegics have a difficult time associating this condition with a high quality of life.
Yet scientific research shows individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) do recover joy in their lives.
Research shows that the following aspects play a large role in the recovery of quality of life in those with an SCI:
- Social involvement is vital to a high sense of life satisfaction 1
- Family: People with SCI were significantly happier with their family life than the
- Dignity-affirming relationships: Dr. Harvey Chochinov writes, “[t]he reflection that patients see of themselves in the eye of the care provider must ultimately affirm their sense of dignity”3
- Adjusting to change over the passage of time: With the help of supportive family and community, individuals with an SCI can sustain a high quality of life, even in the face of complications brought on by age
- Given that research shows the passage of time is one of the requirements of returning to a joyful life aer a tragic accident, the option of legalized assisted suicide cuts off the very process that would allow a patient to recover meaning. Assisted suicide for people with a spinal cord injury should never be made legal
- Increased education to help children and adults to accept and understand that persons with an SCI can and do regain a high quality of life post-injury
- Government should continue to support local and provincial rehabilitation centres
- Families and spouses who are able to journey together through the changes brought on by a spinal cord injury can be foundational to the quality of life of their loved ones just by virtue of the dignity and respect given during that journey
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