Spinal Cord Injury BC

Info for the Newly Injured

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Dealing with a new spinal cord injury can be overwhelming. The resources below will assist you and your loved ones through this uncertain time.

You can contact the SCI BC InfoLine at info@sci-bc.ca or 1-800-689-2477 to help you get started. We also recommend you get in touch with your local Peer Coordinator for additional support and advice from someone who knows what you’re going through. They will be able to tell you more about our Peer Program and how we can help.

No one prepares for a spinal cord injury, and nobody should go through it alone.

Since 1957, SCI BC has been reaching out to help people with spinal cord injuries, their families and friends to adjust, adapt and thrive after SCI. The journey isn’t always easy, but we’re with you all the way. 

Our roadmap brochure is a guide to how SCI BC can support you throughout your journey – click to download the PDF version – or contact our InfoLine to receive this brochure by mail.

If you’re at the GF Strong Rehab Centre ask one our Peer Program Coordinators for a Peer Family Kit. This kit is a helpful guide for families temporarily living in the Lower Mainland area and contains useful information about the local area including accessible accommodation and maps, and information related to life after a spinal cord injury. If you live outside of the Lower Mainland, please email info@sci-bc.ca and ask to have a kit mailed to you.

Where will I (or my loved one) live?

Almost all people with SCI live in the community, and funding support and attendant care can help you to live independently. You may need to adapt your place or look for an accessible home. Some wheelchair accessible homes are available, many of which are subsidized for those who are low income.

Will I (or my loved one) be able to go back to work?

Many people with SCI work! Some return to their previous job and some train for something new. Employers have a “duty to accommodate:” to modify the workplace or policies for workers. Organizations like the Neil Squire Society can help you get back to work after SCI – contact them or ask your social worker. Check out our many resources on our Accessible Employment BC resource. Look for help on our Work After SCI page on LivingwithSCI.ca and keep your eyes open for vocational rehabilitation counsellors at GF Strong Rehab Centre.

Will I (or my loved one) still be able to have sex?

YES! SCI doesn’t mean you can’t have sex, but there may be some challenges. Fortunately, in BC we have an excellent Sexual Health Rehabilitation Service to help you get your mojo back after SCI, ask your clinician for a referral or visit our SCISexualHealth.ca site for more information on your sexual health after Spinal Cord Injury.

Will I (or my loved one) ever walk again? Why are doctors so vague about the prognosis?

Every SCI is different – there are many factors that affect whether someone will walk again. The potential to regain function depends on the level and completeness of injury and it is very difficult to know how much of the spinal cord has been spared. Everybody’s recovery is different! Focus on maximizing your potential during rehab and back in the community, and try not to compare your progress to others.

Read more on Understanding SCI including information on what your injury level means and why you need to know about it.

What is it like to live after spinal cord injury? Nobody knows this like someone who’s been there!

Talk to an SCI BC Peer Coordinator to get involved in our Peer Program. Ryan and Teri both live with a spinal cord injury and work at SCI BC’s Resource Centre at GF Strong. Our Peer Program is all about fun and connection. Join us for events and activities that give you a chance to learn how others do things, try something new and talk to people who know what it’s like to have an SCI.

Find a Peer Coordinator near you and learn more.

Our SCI Info Database contains hundreds of resources relevant for people with an SCI. Search the Database for information on topic areas such as advocacy, building and universal design, education, employment, funding, health, recreation and leisure, accessible transportation, travel and more.

BC Wheelchair Basketball Society: Provides people with SCI in BC the opportunity to participate in wheelchair basketball programs.

BC Wheelchair Sports Association: Provides opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities, and promotes wheelchair sports throughout British Columbia.

Disability Foundation: Promotes the capacity and talents of people with disabilities through various programs, and encourages outdoor participation.

Neil Squire Society: Uses technology, knowledge and passion to empower Canadians with physical disabilities.

ICORD: an interdisciplinary research centre focused on the development and translation of more effective strategies to promote prevention, functional recovery, and improved quality of life after SCI.

Depending on the cause of your injury you may require or benefit from legal advice. When choosing a lawyer, it is important to find one that is a right fit for you. We recommend that you contact at least two or three law firms with experience in personal injury law to ensure you find legal representation that best suits your needs. The Law Society of British Columbia has many resources to help you find a lawyer.

Disclaimer: Please note that SCI BC staff are not qualified to provide specific legal advice, nor are they qualified to make specific recommendations about the legal representation that is right for any specific individual circumstance. The information on finding a lawyer provided by SCI BC is for general information only and should not apply to your specific situation. You are responsible for your own specific situation and should not rely only on this material. It is meant to be used only as a guide.