Patients with a disability living a more independent life

Patients with a disability living a more independent life

Like the thousands of people in our region living with movement disorders, Kelly was born with cerebral palsy, which affects muscle tone or posture and is caused by an injury to an immature, developing brain, most often before birth. Kelly, now 48 years old, has struggled to maintain, or regain, some of her independence. For the past three years, she has been working with the staff of Norton Neurosciences & Spine Rehabilitation Center.

Kelly works with the center’s therapy team every week. Together they are striving to build her upper body strength and keep her muscles from contracting, a common condition associated with cerebral palsy. The exercise and strength training are helping, according to Kelly’s family. They are seeing an improvement in her ability to help herself with upper body movement and better support when family members transport her from the car to her wheelchair.

This has come thanks to a new service available through Norton Neurosciences & Spine Rehabilitation Center. The Center for Independent Living recently opened with the goal of assisting individuals with disabilities so they may live a more independent life. The center is located in the Norton Healthcare Pavilion in downtown Louisville. It’s the only facility of its kind in Kentucky to offer individuals wheelchair seating and positioning services along with information and samples of home modification and accessibility products.

A few other examples of how life has improved for Kelly range from something as simple as a new handle on her wheelchair to providing measurements to a building team constructing a new room at Kelly’s home.

“The family was in the process of building Kelly an on-suite in their home,” said Rusty Mattingly, an occupational therapist and rehabilitation engineer at the center. “They had plans to equip the room with everything she needed, but the placement and measurements of these products are vital. So the therapy team was able to simulate self-care needs in the Center for Independent Living, take the proper measurements and then provide those to the family for the builder.”

According to Beth Quinn, physical therapist and director of Norton Neurosciences & Spine Rehabilitation Center, more than 6.8 million Americans use wheelchairs or other mobility equipment, a number that is continuing to grow as the population ages. However, people of all ages want to continue life with as much independence as possible. Most are learning to maneuver a wheelchair and want their independence when it comes to caring for themselves in their home.

More on the Center for Independent Living

The Center for Independent Living is focused on providing a hands-on environment. Visitors can try out products and equipment associated with their personalized home care, including entering the home or accessing the bathroom and bedroom areas; receive education from licensed physical and occupational therapists on properly using these products; and gather information on resources to help with transportation, self-care and personal safety.

The center is open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. by appointment. Call (502) 629-2501 to schedule an appointment or for more information.


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