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Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

Spinal cord injuries are devastating, and depending upon the level of injury, complications can be severe. Quadriplegics suffer from an injury to the spinal cord higher up (usually in the cervical range C1-C6) and don’t have the use of their arms and legs. Our bodies have a number of systems (such as the nervous system, etc.) and they work in conjunction with each other to maintain our everyday existence. When one of those systems fails, complications (some serious) can occur.

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

What is The Definition of Quadriplegia?

Quadriplegia is defined by paralysis affecting all four limbs (two arms and two legs). This can be brought up by several factors, some of which include illness or injury. Quadriplegia is also known as tetraplegia and usually can lead to partial to full paralysis in all limbs. A spinal cord injury can be classified as incomplete which leads to partial paralysis, while a complete diagnosis incorporates full loss of motor function. This loss is usually motor and sensory and differs from paraplegia in a way that paraplegia does not affect the arms. This is usually caused by an injury further down the spinal cord. Obviously, any injury higher in the spinal cord leads to more severe complications. Due to the lack of movement, skin breakdowns can be prevalent (since they can’t stand) which can lead to pressure sores and the possibility of infection. Another dangerous complication of quadriplegia is autonomic dysreflexia. This is a condition that can cause blood pressure to elevate to dangerous levels increasing the risk of stroke.

Overcoming Quadriplegia: Yes You Can!

With quadriplegia comes the inability for our brain to communicate to our muscles via nerves and move normally. Regaining any function can be achieved through physical/occupational therapy. During this time your therapist may recommend several modifications to the home and medical supplies that can help you regain mobility and avoid complications quadriplegia/tetraplegia present. Quadriplegic care may include:

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

  • Drive Poly-Fly Lightweight Transport Chair Wheelchair: Recovering some of your mobility and independence for those suffering from quadriplegia is crucial. This lightweight all-in-one chair can be used as a self-propelled wheelchair or simply remove the 24 inch wheels and use this as a transport chair. The deluxe back release folds the backrest down easily for hassle-free storage and transportation. This lightweight sturdy wheelchair comes standard with swing away foot rests and heel loops, as well as two sets of brakes for increased safety.
     

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

  • Cure Male Straight Tip Pocket Catheter: A quadriplegic does not have the ability to sense when their bladder is full, making incontinence a major problem. This pocket catheter is one way to empty your bladder (usually on a time schedule). This catheter offers polished eyelets for increased comfort and minimized irritation while being made of quality materials that don’t include DEHP, BPA, or rubber latex. Each intermittent catheter is sterile and recommended for a single use.
     

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

  • Medline FitRight Ultra Adult Briefs: The health risks of incontinence are real, so is the embarrassment that may go along with it. These fitright adult briefs help those afflicted by quadriplegia by providing a discrete, comfortable fit that has a 4D-Core that quickly wicks moisture away from the skin and provides odor protection. The anti-leak guards protect against leakage and by removing moisture from the skin diaper rash can be minimized, therefore minimizing the risk of skin breakdown and potential infection.
     

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

  • Mabis DMI Wood Transfer Board: A quadriplegic needs assistance for all transfers. This can be from a bed to a wheelchair or even to a commode. Since someone suffering from tetraplegia cannot assist with this transfer, all the weight-bearing is on the person aiding in the transfer. This can lead to injury to a caregiver or even the patient themselves. This wooden transfer board makes a sliding transfer safer and easier and is made from ¾ inch maple wood and is sealed to provide a smooth surface for easy transfers. This transfer board can hold a weight capacity of 440 pounds making it the ideal transfer board for just about any patient.
     

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

  • E-Z Slide TLC Positioning Pad: Facilitating a transfer from a bed or gurney into a wheelchair or some other mobility aid can be tricky. This positioning pad allows for the transfer of a patient up to 250 pounds safely with its 4 sturdy handles. It provides three- layer construction that has two top layers that are absorbent and a bottom made of nylon for easier sliding and added strength. This provides a safe lifting environment for the two caregivers needed to safely use it.
     

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

  • Carex Inflatable Rubber Invalid Cushion: Sitting for a quadriplegic can lead to health issues down the road. Constant pressure on our skin can lead to reduced blood flow and the potential for pressure sores to develop which can lead to infection. This cushion provides an inflatable cushion that contours to the body to distribute weight evenly. Easy to inflate, it is simple and effective when used properly and cleaned easily with a damp cloth. Inflate, sit, deflate when done, easy peasy!!
     

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

  • Enluxtra Humifiber Self-Adaptive Wound Dressing: Even the most conscientious quadriplegic and their caregivers may experience the need for wound management. While avoiding skin breakdowns may not be 100% possible, dealing with the healing process is. These wound dressings are perfect for all types of wounds. From high exuding to no exudate at all, these can provide wound protection as well as creating an optimal moisture barrier to expedite healing. Not only can these dressings absorb 1500% of their weight in fluid, but they lock the moisture away from the skin minimizing skin maceration. This non-adherent dressing will not adhere to the wound making removal easy and comfortable
     

Overcoming Complications of Quadriplegia

  • ARI Medical Flexall 454 Regular Pain Relieving Gel: Sometimes after a physical therapy session a quadriplegic may feel some soreness and pain in areas above the level of injury (usually the shoulders). This is possibly caused by the muscles that can be used overworking and compensating for those that no longer respond normally. This pain relieving gel uses an aloe vera formula with natural oils and vitamin E to provide long-lasting relief from muscular aches and pains. It is quickly absorbed and is graceless, non-staining, and easy on the skin. Enjoy your soothing relief after a tough session of regaining your independence!!
     

Quadriplegia can be daunting, but understanding how the body works and working with your therapists and doctors you can recover some of your independence and quality-of-life. Quadriplegia/Tetraplegia presents a unique set of challenges that can be battled with the right therapy plan and patient compliance. Recover as much of your independence and mobility as you can do to enjoy life!!

 

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