Burke Rehabilitation Hospital of White Plains, N.Y., has been awarded a $200,000 grant by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to help spinal cord injury patients.
An Oct. 22 news announcement said the Creating Opportunity & Independence Community Support Grant will be used to fund Burke’s “Taking Back Control: Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel Management Program,” designed “to preemptively address potential bladder/bowel infections and/or complications through intensive patient and caregiver education that can be implemented across the continuum of care and in the community. Those living with spinal cord injuries are more susceptible to such complications, often feel inhibited, and limit their social interactions.”
Elizabeth Dominick, DPT, PT, Director of the Spinal Cord Injury and Neurology Program at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, said in the announcement, “Additional resources will make our current program more comprehensive and increase the scope of what we can offer. The grant will provide us with the funding to bring caregivers into the process of recovery earlier and successfully return the person living with a spinal cord injury to their home, allowing them to do tasks and activities that they performed prior to their injury.”
The bladder and bowel management program provides funds for Burke’s spinal cord injury program to support a part-time nurse educator and a part-time care coordinator. “The funds will also allow the hospital to purchase catherization training models for inpatient, outpatient, and community use, as well as catheter kits and accessories for educational purposes, and create and produce neurogenic bladder and bowel education videos and materials,” the announcement said.
Jennie Valles, M.D., a Board-certified neurologist who specializes in spinal cord injury, explained the importance of bladder and bowel management for people living with spinal cord injuries, saying they “need reliable educational resources and tools. Empowered with these tools, they can take charge of their health and prevent medical complications, such as infections, skin breakdown, and ultimately readmissions to the hospital. These medical setbacks impede recovery and prevent patients from returning to an independent and fulfilling lifestyle.”
The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation describes itself as the largest private funder of spinal cord injury research, rehabilitation, clinical training, and programmatic support in the United States and Canada.