Background The number of annual spinal injuries (through illness or trauma) is thought to have been underestimated. Recent data suggests that 2,500 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with a spinal injury rather than the 1,000 previously thought (Spinal Injuries Association, 2019) and the number of people living with spinal injury in the UK is 50,000.
The type of injury is changing, the stereotypical young motorcyclist is being replaced as the most frequent patient profile by the older person who falls at home, or remains active in retirement and sustains an injury associated with an active lifestyle.
In addition, the life expectancy of people with spinal injury has improved and is now equal to that of non-injured people. Individuals are reaching old age with longstanding care needs as a result of their spinal injury.
The specialities of palliative and spinal injury care have traditionally had very different priorities but having recognised that the number of people with spinal injuries requiring palliative and end of life care is increasing, it is time to bring the two worlds together and learn from each other.
Aim The project will bring together palliative care and spinal injury care specialists to develop an education programme and resources for clinical teams caring for a person with a spinal injury who is approaching the end of life.
Method A course is being developed which will be available on-line and give easy access to information to support specialist and generalist practitioners.
A leading hospice and the Spinal Injuries Association are collaborating on the project to bring together their expertise. The presentation will outline how the project began and how the course is being developed.
Anticipated results The course will be available in Winter 2019.
This project has been funded by donation from the Tye family.
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