U-M Spinal Cord Injury Program gives an educational assist
The U-M Spinal Cord Injury Model System recently contributed to new online education resources designed to assist patients, caregivers and professionals in learning more about how to manage neurogenic bowel after a spinal cord injury.
The free resources were developed with the leadership of the Model System Knowledge Translation Center, a national center that supports model system programs across the country with information for patients with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and burn injury.
U-M’s SCIMS, in the U-M Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, was featured in a new module containing videos, a fact sheet and slideshow. U-M spinal cord injury experts participated in interviews discussing bowel management issues and how they guide patients through the experience of getting their bowel management program under control while preventing complications. Spinal cord injury individuals in the community shared their personal experiences with bowel management after their injury and how it impacts their daily life.
“Improving bowel function is rated as one of the highest priorities for people with spinal cord injury,” said Denise Tate, Ph.D., professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at U-M, and co-director and principal investigator of the U-M SCIMS. “It can affect so many aspects of one’s life, such as relationships, employment and sexuality, and it negatively impacts quality of life.”
One individual featured in the video is Marva Ways. She was affected by a spinal cord injury after an automobile accident in 1976.
“Sometimes I just have to change my routine,” Ways said. “I have to do what I need to do, instead of doing what I want to do, to maintain good quality of life.”
She added, “It really affects your quality of life. When things are going well, it’s easy to be upbeat. It’s easy to be happy because everything is going your way. But when things are not going your way, don’t just sit and suffer in silence. Try and find a way to rectify the situation, whether it’s talking to your doctors or talking to your peers.”
U-M is one of only 14 institutions to be named a Spinal Cord Injury Model System by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research. The model systems conduct research, educate and work in collaboration with U.S. and global partners to improve access to treatments and high-quality practices for people with spinal cord injury.
To view the module and learn more about model system education efforts, please click here.