A serious spinal cord injury in the 90s left Dean bound to his bed. His functions declining over the years, the 51-year-old spent his days eating, sleeping, having a bed bath, changing his urinary bag and watching television. Better Rehab Occupational Therapists Emily and Danielle have been working diligently alongside Dean’s support coordinators and equipment suppliers from AusTech medical to improve his quality of life. They conducted research to explore his options for a power wheelchair (PWC), eventually coordinating a date to trial a chair from Permobil. “The trial took over 3 hours to script the chair to Dean’s anthropometrics, get him on the power wheelchair, check the chair fit within his home, and explore switch options to ensure he could drive the chair,” Emily said.
After an application to the NDIS, funding approval and training, Dean was given his Permobil Power Wheelchair, which he could independently control using ergonomic switches. With his right arm positioned at his chest, he can navigate the PWC forwards and backwards, while head switches facilitate side-to-side movement. A final switch, behind his elbow, allows him to adjust modes, including wheelchair speed and position.
In June, for the first time in 20 years, Dean was able to get out of bed.
“I felt independent and like I was 17 again – driving a car for the first time,” he said. “I felt freedom - like I could go anywhere at any time.”
Emily said Dean has redefined possible and the progress he has made is remarkable.
“When we first met Dean, he was bedbound, only leaving his bed in the ambulance plinth to go to the hospital,” she said. “Dean’s wheelchair is brand new - he has now been able to use it on three occasions in which he was able to spend time in the sun, visit neighbours down his street, see a rainbow, see his backyard for the first time in twenty years and have a tea party on his back patio.” Click here to meet Dean
Better Rehab is an NDIS- registered allied health provider with branches across Australia. For more information on the services they provide, visit www.betterrehab.com.au.
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