There was a time when people who had suffered a spinal cord injury were left with scant options when it came to continued treatment. But now, thanks to organizations like Project Walk, those persons interested in continued rehabilitation are able to get their needs met.
A new report details the efforts of the organization, which was started back in 1999. At the time, there was a dearth of programs that offered recovery programs focused on exercise for those persons who had been told they would never walk again.
For many people, the notion that they’ll never walk is a tough pill to swallow. But an attitude of not even trying permeates many medical institutions and insurance providers. Insurance companies will offer to cover only a set period of time with which a patient can go through rehabilitation, and physical therapists may back out of continued treatment if they feel a plateau has been reached.
Project Walk has sought to alter that generally held perception. Using research suggesting that continued exercise could help the patient restore at least partial bodily function as its basis, a training program was created that injured parties could submit to in order to receive exercise-based rehabilitation after the initial insurance-covered timeframe had long past.
The organization has branched out across the entire globe. One injured individual who was the focus of the story at the above link moved to Carlsbad, the site of one Project Walk facility, after being told that she had no other options in terms of care. She points out that many persons had told her to get over the idea she would never walk again but that she has benefitted from the continued exercise.
An accusation leveled at the organization over the years is that they are creating false hope, but officials are quick to shrug it off. A Client Services Manager points out that the facility doesn’t measure its impact in terms of how many clients they have gotten walking again, a metric that wouldn’t be feasible. Instead, it’s more important to take things on a case by case basis and look at improvements among each person. And judging by that metric, improvement is exhibited in 71% of patients.
A medical journal called Spinal Cord featured research from the organization five years ago that showed exercise has the potential to improve ability even below the site of the injury. To support their continued efforts to prove this point, Project Walk holds various fundraisers that go toward improvements to education and their own facilities.