SCI Rehabilitation

SCI Rehabilitation Program


The government claims that 10 in 10,000 people in India suffer from spinal cord injury (SCI). But The Association of People with Disability (APD) has handled over 3000 SCI cases in Karnataka alone, that too in just 3-4 districts. The situation is worse than projected. APD has taken the initiative to be the thought process leader in SCI rehabilitation to drive attention to this area.

People with spinal cord injury (PwSCI) need more support than other PwDs. They need two callipers and one wheelchair, a costly affair. They need intensive therapy and intensive counselling as SCI disrupts their everyday life, livelihood and relationships. Many PwSCI become suicidal. Worse, many succumb to fatal pressure sores, caused by the SCI.

SCIs also struggle with a livelihood. Their disability comes with unique challenges that require support at the workplace. For example, SCIs must self-catheterize to empty their bladder every 3 hours. Toilets must be accessible.

Furthermore, SCI is not covered by insurance because it is a long-term disability. Support and visibility from the government are also limited.

APD is the pioneer organization in India offering comprehensive SCI rehabilitation.

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Community workers work with SCIs at APD India

Program Objective

Create greater awareness of SCI and its prevention. Enable comprehensive SCI rehabilitation for underprivileged people.

APD’s Approach

Rehabilitating a Spinal Cord Injured/SCI person would typically incur an expense of 3-4 lakhs. At APD, the rehabilitation is done for 50-75K. Here's how.

The SCI model at APD is unique. You won’t find professionals such as nurses, doctors, psychologists, etc., at our Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Centers (SRC) in districts. Instead, you’ll find specialized community workers.

Of course, we have expert physio, speech and language, and occupational therapists as well as consulting psychologists and medical doctors, etc., coming in at APD frequently. We invite them to volunteer, train, visit our districts and conduct assessments, etc., to maintain the intensity and outcome of the program.

Spinal Cord Injured (SCIs) receiving therapy at APD India

APD follows the WHO recognized transdisciplinary model to rehabilitate SCIs. A clear protocol is established for the SCI program, the community workers learn it and follow it to great effect. They are trained to help the SCIs – therapy, connecting them to social security schemes, livelihood, physical exercises, etc.

There are two SCI rehabilitation programs at APD:

  • Institutional Based Rehabilitation (IBR): This is an intensive 3.5 months, residential training where PwSCIs learn to wash their clothes, cook food, take care of their daily routine, transfer from wheelchair to bed, etc. This helps them rebuild their social skills. The physical rehabilitation makes them stronger and independent. They go back home with confidence and dignity. Their independence opens up opportunities for work as well.  
  • Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR): Some SCIs, especially women, cannot leave home for the residential program. APD then works with them in the community. Because of the breaks and lower intensity, this program can take 8 months to a year to show results. However, the trained CBR workers follow-up on a periodic basis to help them achieve independence.

SCIs need a lot of follow-ups as without proper care the chances of developing bed-sores are high. After sending the SCIs home, APD keeps them in the loop for 3-4 years in the community. We visit them once or twice a month, based on need.