Launch of “Psychological Guidelines in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation”

At the recent ASCoN Conference in Kathmandu, Dr Stan Ducharme took the opportunity to launch a clinical practice guideline with the title of “Psychological Guidelines in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation”.  The following documents his thoughts on this very important launch.

December 3, 2015 was a long time in coming. For the last 6 years, I have been coordinating a project in Southeast Asia on developing “Psychological Guidelines in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation”. This is a clinical practice guideline as to how psychological services should be provided in developing countries for people with spinal cord injury. It addresses the fact that there is no consistency and few trained mental health professionals.

The guideline covers everything from the necessary training, roles of mental health providers, discrimination, ethics, types of services to be provided and staffing patterns of peer counselors, social workers, psychiatrists and occupational therapists. It also covers the psychological impact of natural disasters on people with SCI as has happened in places like Bangladesh, Haiti and Nepal. In this regard, the Guidelines focus on the problems we saw and the programs we put into place here in Nepal and earlier in Bangladesh. I am pleased to say it has been endorsed by many of the big names in Psychology around the globe.

After six years of running focus groups for consumers and multiple revisions by myself, colleagues, reviewers and the ASCoN board members, the book was recently printed and was launched today by the President of Nepal, H.E. Bidhya Dev Bhandan. She was very gracious, when I presented her with the first copy wrapped in gift wrap. I am embarrassed to admit it, but it was a proud moment for me.

Stan & President of Nepal

President of Nepal, Her Excellency Bidhya Dev Bhandan receiving her copy of “Psychological Guidelines in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation”. A proud moment for Stan. Apologies for the poor quality of photo!

Prior to the launch, I gave a brief presentation about the background of the project and our objectives to improve the outcome of SCI rehabilitation in this part of the world. It is our hope that the implementation of these psychosocial guidelines will improve psychological outcomes across various countries and in a variety of different treatment settings. These guidelines were funded in part by a USA grant from the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE), a program of the US Department of Education, to support my travel and Livability International who supported the project in every way possible.

Stan & his launch

Dr Stan speaking to the 14th ASCoN Conference delegates about this publication.

A great evening to do a little celebrating with people that made this happen and supported me every step along the way. Thanks you guys, especially Stephen and Maggie. There were many times when I never thought we would finish. We can take a big sigh of relief. Then, let’s talk about implementation.

In response, Stephen & Maggie Muldoon of Livability International gave the following quote:  “It may have taken some time but we got there in the end. And you will be happy to know that plans are already afoot for implementing these Psychosocial guidelines at our partner organization in Bangladesh, the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed-CRP.

Congratulations to Dr Stan, the ASCoN Board and all those who contributed to this important book.

The recently launched ASCoN psychosocial guidelines in spinal cord injury rehabilitation are available to download here:…/psychosocial-guidelines15.pdf

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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One Response to Launch of “Psychological Guidelines in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation”

  1. Pingback: Launch of “Psychological Guidelines in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation” | konviktion

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