If you were looking for a word of the year, ‘Zoom’ would be in with a shout of taking the title. We’ve all spent more time on video calls and meetings than would ever have seemed possible or that we ever wanted before the pandemic started. And for our Independent Living team, the technology meant being able to continue their work with patients locked down in hospital.

Aspire’s Independent Living team are a vital element of the rehabilitation process, meeting with patients to offer advice, guidance and support from the perspective of someone who has been through it all themselves. But as the pandemic gathered pace, the Spinal Injury Centres understandably had to limit access to the wards and Aspire had to protect our staff too.

Without access to the wards, our team set about providing support in different ways, with video calls providing immediate contact. Not only could the team offer one-to-one meetings, but they also delivered group sessions and worked with our friends at Back Up to host drop-in sessions and informal chats. For those patients that didn’t want to, or couldn’t, use Zoom, phone calls were also always available. And as restrictions were lifted, many of the team were also able to offer distanced meet ups in the hospital gardens.

Our Independent Living Service has always been highly valued by the patients. But with locked-down wards, shorter rehab stays and reduced access to the formal patient education sessions, the work of our Team was more important than ever.

We are incredibly proud that we were able to adapt to meet the challenge of helping newly-injured patients, offering our trained support under difficult circumstances.

As things return to normal, we’ll be back meeting people face to face as soon as it is safe to do so. But we’ve also heard from some patients that have so valued the flexibility of the virtual meet ups that they’ve asked for them to remain available; as a result of this feedback, we’ll be keeping regular Zoom sessions going even when the hospitals are fully open again.

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2021

The impact of Covid-19 on Aspire’s Housing Service

The impact of Covid-19 on Aspire’s Assistive Technology Service

Independent Living

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Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2021 image with charity logos