The therapist delivers and adjusts garments
A-Liang* is an energetic, positive and resourceful guy in his early twenties who leads a full and interesting life. Although he is very young, he started his own web-design company at home and he even employs other young designers. A-Liang is also a music enthusiast who plays base and guitar in a rock band he formed with friends. Of a curious and inquisitive nature, his interests are quite broad and if something new captures his interest, he will devote time and effort to understanding it. Little did he know that these qualities would prove critical in helping him face a new challenge...
The moment life changes
In early 2014, while walking back home from fishing at a nearby creek, A-Liang was crossing railroad tracks when his metal fishing rod accidentally got caught in electrical wires. A-Liang felt a sudden shock and everything went dark. The next thing he remembers is waking up in a hospital bed, his body covered in bandages. He had suffered severe electrical burns on his legs, trunk, arms, hands and neck. His fingers were particularly affected. He was fortunate that no amputation was necessary, but the fingertips were all charred and black, and his fingers became hypersensitive.
After many weeks in hospital, A-Liang was able to return home and that's when he started receiving visits from a social worker and a therapist from Sunshine's Central Center. Due to the severity of his burns, the therapist recommended intensive physical rehabilitation at Sunshine Rehabilitation Center in Taipei but A-Liang didn't want to be away from his family for an extended period of time and preferred to stay home. The therapist thus recommended home exercises, and also arranged for A-Liang to receive regular rehabilitation services at a nearby hospital. However, after a few weeks, A-Liang felt that he was wasting a lot of his time on the road and in hospital waiting rooms so he said he wanted to do rehabilitation by himself at home. At first, the therapist was a bit worried, but A-Liang methodically reviewed the pros and cons with her, convincing her that he had put a lot of thought into this and that he was committed to succeeding.
The importance of home rehabilitation services for burn survivors in the regions
For burn survivors living outside major urban centers, distance or limited medical resources reduce access to regular physical therapy. Sometimes, misconceptions about the scar healing process, ignorance of the importance of rehabilitation, urgent worries of personal or financial nature or other personal considerations also deter burn survivors from availing themselves of therapy, significantly delaying their recovery.
In 2004, Sunshine began offering home outreach services, with physical therapists visiting patients at home to plan rehabilitation programs they can carry out themselves. Therapists monitor progress, which reduces complications such as scar contracture. Patient education also inspires burn survivors to take charge of their recovery and become involved in developing their rehabilitation program. Visits also help identify burn survivors who, due to the seriousness of their physical condition, lack of family support, low motivation or limited local medical resources, need to carry out rehabilitation in the supervised setting of the Center in Taipei.
Client and therapist work together to set goals and achieve them
The therapist and A-Liang set out to outline rehabilitation goals, one of which was to be able to play the guitar again. In addition to providing pressure garments to control scar growth, the therapist planned a home exercise program which tried to use as mush as possible objects commonly found in the home, as well as activities carried out daily. For example, simple nuts and bolts became tools to practice fine motor skills. As A-Liang's physical status improved, the therapist modified his rehabilitation program and A-Liang himself began to look at daily life from the perspective of rehabilitation. Always ingenious, he started to think of ways to incorporate rehabilitation exercises and training in daily activities. For example, he became interested in making paper models and found that cutting, folding and gluing all the minuscule elements was a great way to train his hand function. He also began to play guitar again. Despite finger hypersensitivity which made pinching chords extremely painful, he found that with practice, flexibility of his fingers improved and sensitivity decreased. A-Liang actively discussed with the therapist his ideas and findings, and she encouraged him to explore these possibilities.
During home rehabilitation visits, the therapist must move at the pace of the client and also try to make sure that she understands the needs and concerns of the client in order to ensure successful communication. She must also be able to adapt her clinical knowledge and skills to the home environment situation, and by discussing with the client his life experience (ex: interests, hobbies, etc.), she can identify ways by which rehabilitation can be integrated in daily life.
During a recent visit, A-Liang surprised the therapist by picking up his guitar and serenading her. A-Liang's goal to play guitar again is almost achieved and very soon, he'll be able to resume his active life.
Help us bring home rehabilitation services to more burn survivors in Taiwan
A donation of US$70 allows us to carry out one home rehabilitation visit to a burn survivor like A-Liang. Now, during GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day on October 15, you have the chance to maximize the value of your support because GlobalGiving will be matching gifts made to Sunshine Foundation at 30%. This means that your donation of $100 will receive a $30 match!
We invite you to support Sunshine Foundation’s efforts to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to burn survivors in Taiwan by donating to our project Rehabilitation for burn survivors in Taiwan.
Mark the Bonus Day date on your calendar!!!
Taiwan time: from Wednesday, October 15 at 9:00 PM to Thursday, October 16 at 11:59 AM.
US time: from Wednesday, October 15 at 9:00 AM EST to Wednesday, October 15 at 11:59 PM EST
On behalf of Sunshine Foundation and its international partners, a huge thank you for your support!
PS: We encourage you to make your donation early, because matching funds will likely run out before the end of the day.
(*) Name has been modified.
Building a rapport with the client is important
Making model ships is a form of rehabilitation
Rehabilitation goal #1: Play guitar again