Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Project improves the lives of patients with complex injuries

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Sunshine Coast Health Rehabilitation team with patient Nemani Ranuve. Back L to R: Jess Papa, Olivia White, Kate Harvey, Dr Tim Butson, Dr Beth Grosso, Dr Neala Milburn, Lucy Day, Ri Collins, Todd Naylor. Front: Patient Nemani Ranuve

Sunshine Coast residents with brain and spinal cord injuries now have access to a new Neuro Intensive Rehabilitation and Complex Concussion Clinic, to help improve day-to-day life.

Following a successful pilot, Sunshine Coast Health has announced the program will receive ongoing funding to provide day rehabilitation for people with neurological injuries such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and concussion.

People who are experiencing disabilities related to nervous system damage can now safely live at home, while receiving treatment from the Neuro Intensive Rehab program at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH).

The program offers holistic and specialised neuro-rehabilitation from a multidisciplinary team, working together to restore the patients function.

The Complex Concussion Clinic is also now fully funded and provides rehabilitation for patients experiencing new concussion or persistent post-concussive symptoms, with 86% achieving significant functional recovery and returning to their usual life roles after a block of outpatient treatment.

Sunshine Coast Health Medical Director Rehab Dr Elizabeth Grosso said that the pilot saw 130 patients complete the program who experienced significant improvements in their day-to-day life.

“These injuries have a major impact on independence and quality of life. It’s incredibly valuable to be able to offer people intensive rehab in a day setting because they get to go home at the end of the day, see their family, sleep in their own bed, and practice their daily tasks in the context of their real life”.

Executive Director Medical Services Dr Marlene Pearce said that the clinic had received significant positive feedback.

“We asked all of the patients to give us feedback on the clinic and how much it benefited their function in day-to-day life and 100% of the 130 patients provided positive feedback on ability, adjustment, and participation after injury”.

Sunshine Coast Health was one of five health services in Queensland identified to participate in Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Project (BaSCI) Project with the health service committing to funding this service ongoing.

Nemani’s story

Tin Can Bay local Nemani Ranuve was crossing the street after a night out in Gympie when he was hit by a scooter in December last year. He was taken to a Brisbane Hospital, where he spent almost five weeks in a coma. He has been in rehabilitation in hospital for the past seven months, before finally returning home earlier this month.

“There’s no place like home I reckon. And it’s much better to know that mum is off the road all the time, not driving to Brisbane,” Nemani said.

“The first port of call was McDonald’s. It was a great, a very emotional day, because we didn’t think we would get there but we did and it’s been great,” mum Jill said.

“We started rehab here the following Monday and it has been amazing. The staff have been wonderful to Nemani and I, and we are looking forward to him improving while we are here,” Jill said.

Nemani is currently attending the clinic four days a week.