Spinal Cord Injury Peer Support Program
Peer Support = "Communication + Information + Support"
The Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Peer Support Program is coordinated by the Rehabilitation Research Center (RRC) at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The Peer Support Program brings together people who have had similar experiences of disability as a result of SCI. By listening empathetically, sharing their coping strategies, and offering suggestions, peer supporters can assist others in overcoming difficult situations.
People with SCI may desire assistance to ease their transition from hospital to home, and to help with successful integration into the community. The Peer Support Network is designed to provide this assistance by giv ing people with SCI the opportunity to exchange information and concerns. Peer supporters are northern California residents with SCI who volunteer time to share their experiences with those who are newly injured. Issues discussed between volunteer peer supporters and participants are private and confidential.
SCI Support Services are free and available to any individual who has sustained a spinal cord injury as well as their families and significant others.
Peer Support Communication Information Support
Not all persons with SCI live in Santa Clara County; thus an outreach program is available in several communities throughout northern California. Whenever possible, the person with a new injury will have the opportunity to speak to another individual with SCI in their community.
Benefits of the program
The individual with SCI who participates in the SCI Support Program will have an opportunity to identify with someone who understands the challenges and transitions that an individual with a spinal cord injury experiences. Additionally, information on available and appropriate community resources is provided.
Peer supporters have access to community resource information that they make available to participants. Issues and concerns such as the following may be discussed:
- attitudinal barriers
- community resources
- educational opportunities
- recreation opportunities
- referral for medical, financial, & legal issues
- adaptive and medical technology
- A peer support group is held every monday from 4-5 pm in the l-C Day Room for patients with SCI and their families
- The group is facilitated by a peer with spinal cord injury and a psychologist. Former patients offer support and share their experiences and information. Individual meetings with peers can be arranged
- Topics include coping with disability, attendant care issues, returning to work/school, relationships, raising children and social activities
Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center
After people with SCI have been discharged from the hospital and have returned to their communities, they may still have important questions. The Rehabilitation Research Center disseminates a variety of useful information on SCI. This free service may be accessed by calling the RRC Office at: (800) 352-1956 (at the prompt choose Richard Patterson or Debbie Burdsall).
What we're hearing:
"Peer support opens doors once locked by fear, and then allows everything I did right or wrong to be all worthwhile."
"Peer support provides rewards seldom noticed by many, but has the power to fulfill the dreams of all who are touched by its magic."