For Central Florida residents living with a spinal cord injury, the impact of COVID-19 has been especially difficult since it affected their ability to access essential services and supplies. Not only are they at a higher risk for contracting the virus, but the pandemic has also disrupted care for their unique health issues.
Team members Bob Melia, spinal cord network coordinator, Michael Taylor, occupational therapist, and Erin Jones, rehab educator, with the Orlando Health ORMC Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation, collaborated with Lauren Vagelakos, senior grant manager, with the Orlando Health Foundation to apply for a community grant.
The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation launched an emergency relief fund to help individuals living with spinal cord injuries with the cost of medical supplies, household necessities, personal protective equipment, medications, living costs, and access to healthcare and support services.
Through the efforts of the rehab team and the Foundation, Orlando Health received $20,000 to provide funding for living expenses and supplies to 30 people living with spinal cord injury in the Central Florida area.
"Orlando Health was also able to purchase needed medical supplies the residents could not purchase in the community, like gloves, sanitizing wipes, urological supplies, and bandages," says Michael Taylor, MOT, OTR/L. "We have been distributing supplies to our patients in need at the downtown outpatient rehab clinic and it's really made a difference for them."
Orlando Health was invited to apply for this grant from the Neilsen Foundation since the organization was a prior grant recipient between 2017-2019.