ORMC Improving Quality of Life for Patients with Paralysis

A $14,000 grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation will allow Orlando Regional Medical Center’s acute rehabilitation team to provide additional adaptive care to patients with spinal cord injuries.

In an effort to better serve individuals whose lives are affected by paralysis, the rehabilitation team at Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) continues to seek out new technologies and approaches to providing access to assistive technology. Through a $14,000 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the rehabilitation team at ORMC will add a new piece of adaptive technology equipment.

The Tobii-Dynavox i-12, an FDA approved device, will support communication and environmental access through eye gaze. This technology will allow patients with spinal cord injuries who require a ventilator during their stay to communicate better with family, friends and caregivers at ORMC. These patients who are limited in their communication due to mechanical ventilation and generalized weakness (unable to write, etc.) will have more ability to engage with people and participate in medical decisions.

Eye gaze technology, an augmentative and alternative form of communication, not only positively impacts a patient’s quality of life, medical care and emotional well-being, it also helps to foster further gains in rehabilitation goals. The equipment will help patients with multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and Parkinson’s disease.

The Quality of Life grant ORMC received is one of 107 grants totaling over $735,482 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Conceived by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded over 2,600 grants totaling over $19 million since 1999. “The quality of life and care our patients will experience will be greatly enhanced with this new piece of technology,” says Courtney Prevatt, an occupational therapist at ORMC. “It will help our patients during times when they are most vulnerable and allow them to adapt to a new way of living.”

“The Reeve Foundation is committed to supporting programs and resources that foster independent living, improved health and community engagement,” said Donna Valente, Director, Quality of Life Grants, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “The recognized grantees are instrumental to our work at the Reeve Foundation as we strive to serve the disability community with a roadmap of resources and programs to enhance their quality of life.”

Awarded twice yearly, grant requests were evaluated and scored based on a rigorous review process to determine funding for organizations that improve daily life for those living with paralysis, as well as their families and caregivers. This cycle, the Reeve Foundation strategically focused on projects that address the needs of people with paralysis living in underserved areas, designated as groups or county or civil divisions in which residents have a shortage of personal health services or face economic, cultural or linguistic barriers to healthcare.