Chhabra and Batra (2016) identified the main issues that must be addressed by a family with a paraplegic member to be financial issues, psychological issues, and physical issues. Having a family member that is paralyzed from the waist down can take a significant toll on the financial situation of the family. The medical expenses incurred from prehospital care, hospital care, and post-hospital care can be very high. The medical costs can be a burden to the family members forced to contribute to the bill of the hospital. It is important to choose models of service delivery in centers specialized in paraplegic care that reduce the medical costs by reducing complications and re-hospitalization rates.
Victims of paraplegia suffer from psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorders and low self-esteemed due to body image issues. The family can also suffer psychologically as they become frightened, worried and overwhelmed by the drastic changes that occur in the family. Other people tend to develop a negative attitude towards their new states as they consider it worse than dying from the accident. It is essential to address these issues through honest and candid talk among the family members and through seeing psychiatrists.
There are physical issues that come along to a family with a paralyzed member. The person with paraplegia will need to move around in a wheelchair, and this limits their physical activities. It is crucial for the family members to get the right wheelchair. Family members can also agree among themselves on who should provide physical care for the paraplegic and when. That is, they can assign roles among themselves for example who takes the paraplegic outside and when or who helps them take a bath and when and this might bring about the inconvenience. Families that can afford to pay a professional caregiver should do so, but they can be involved from time to time so that the paraplegic does not feel abandoned by the family members.
Dr. Murray Bowen formulated the family system approach in 1974. It views the family as an emotional unit which should work together. To plan for future care, I would use three family health models that are the clinical model, role-performance model and the adaptive model (Kaakinen et al., 2014). The clinical model will help in identifying the issues that affect the well-being of the family due to this situation such as psychological issues and solve them. The role performance model will be instrumental in planning for the roles that each family member will take for example taking the paraplegic member for the regular doctor visits. The adaptive model will help the family change and grow and adapt to the new conditions.
Kaakinen, J. R., Coehlo, D. P., Steele, R., Tabacco, A., & Hanson, S. M. H (2014). Family health care: Using theory, practice, and research. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis
Chhabra HS, Batra S (2016). Spinal Cord Injury and its Impact on the Patient, Family, and the Society.Int J Recent Surg Med Sci;2(1):1-4.
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