Rafferty Laredo Discusses His Duties With NSCIA Houston

NSCIA defines the community as not only the person with the injury, but also that person’s family, friends, healthcare professionals.

NSCIA defines the community as not only the person with the injury, but also that person’s family, friends, healthcare professionals.

Editor’s Note: Individuals at the National Spinal Cord Injury Association had been watching and learning about Rafferty Laredo for many years. They knew of his passion to help people with spinal cord injuries, and they recognized a strong need for a Chapter in Houston, Texas. When the decision was made to try and develop a support system in Houston, this opportunity was presented to Laredo. Part 4 of a 5 part series.

“The first responsibility of NSCIA Houston is to create a cohesive, local community for people with spinal cord injuries,” Rafferty Laredo says. “We define the community as not only the person with the injury, but also that person’s family, friends, healthcare professionals and SCI related businesses to serve as a network for individuals with spinal cord injuries across Houston. The main goals of NSCIA Houston are education, community reintegration, community outreach, and advocacy. Our initial work is to create peer support groups across Houston.”

Currently, Houston has only three support groups, and Laredo’s goal is to at least double that number by the end of 2012. “A tremendous amount of bonding occurs when people who have been injured can share time with others like them,” Laredo emphasizes.

“These groups discuss major issues that are occurring in their life. They may discuss specific topics such as sexuality or bowel and bladder management or how to relate to caregivers. The group may also be a simple, open sharing between friends; it’s being open and honest with one another about this new life on a regularly scheduled basis.” Rafferty Laredo either leads these groups or brings in other speakers who have had experience in certain areas or perhaps clinicians who bring their expertise outside the hospital setting to these groups.

“We also strive to provide community reintegration opportunities,” Laredo explains. “For instance, we did a day of yoga that free to our members.” Besides his medical certifications, Rafferty Laredo also has two yoga teacher training certifications, one through Yoga Therapy International and the other through the Yoga Institute of Houston. “Yoga teaches that there’s always a connection with the mind and the body, whether you can feel your body or not,” Laredo says. “This yoga experience allowed our members to experience that fully.”

Rafferty helping a patient be one with mind and body through yoga.

Rafferty helping a patient be one with mind and body through yoga.

“Our outreach in the community involves us looking for individuals who are looking for us, especially the people who have limited resources. We are fortunate that we have amazing volunteers who can help us.” This community reintegration is one of the primary missions of NSCIA Houston. Laredo and his team try and identify and support other community based organizations that are trying to help and minister to individuals with spinal cord injuries. One such group is Living Hope (see Day 5).

The video below shows National Spinal Cord Injury Association Houston at Bikram Yoga in Pearland, Texas.

For more information on NSCIA Houston, visit www.txspinalcord.org.

Next: Rafferty Laredo & NSCIA Houston Assist Living Hope & Other Organizations

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

NSCIA Houston’s Rafferty Laredo Saw A Need For Community Based Support For Those With Spinal Cord Injuries

Rafferty working with one of his patients. He looks at each patient as a person, not as a diagnosis.

Rafferty working with one of his patients. He looks at each patient as a person, not as a diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: World changers observe the world going in one direction, and they believe it should go in another. Sooner or later, they’ll ask the question, “Who is going to change the world for the better?” They come to the same conclusion, “If no one else, why not me?” They often realize that their gifts in life are seeing the world as it is, next seeing the world as it can be and finally realizing that they themselves are the implements to be used for change. That’s what happened to Rafferty Laredo. Part 3 of a 5 part series.

“The care that people with spinal cord injuries receive today is different than it used to be,” Laredo explains. “There are strict regulations in the healthcare system and with insurance programs that have dramatically changed the amount of time patients are given for rehabilitation. I became keenly interested in how we were going to continue to care for people with spinal cord injuries and other types of paralysis after they left the hospital. Hospitals are doing the best they can, but we need to figure out how we can help care for these individuals throughout their lifetimes. This is impossible to fund through traditional insurance programs of today.”

Rafferty wants to ensure that patients can receive help for a lifetime.

Rafferty wants to ensure that patients can receive help for a lifetime.

In Houston, Texas where Laredo lives, there was no community based support system for people with spinal cord injuries or paralysis. They would stay in the hospital and in rehab for 2 to 4 months.

Today, the standard length of stay in the hospital and in rehab is often only 28 to 30 days. The shift in the focus of caring for these patients has transferred from the hospital to some type of community based care support like the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. However, there was no Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association in Houston. Of course, when your body and your life are dramatically changed, the time required to adjust to both takes more than 28 to 30 days, so there’s a very definite need for a support system like NSCIA in every community.

There must be a highly trained, highly motivated specialist like Rafferty Laredo, willing to step up to the plate and set up a program and a plan to meet the continuing needs and to build the support groups to help individuals with spinal cord injuries for the rest of their lives.

To learn more about the NSCIA Houston program, visit www.txspinalcord.org.

Next: Rafferty Laredo Discusses His Duties With NSCIA Houston

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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