Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wheelchair Training...

Wheelchair training in Banja Luka

To come into compliance with the guidelines set out by the world health organization the church is now requiring our partnering organizations to be trained in how to fit and distribute wheelchairs properly. We have been planning a preparing for this training for some time now. We hosted our wheelchair specialists from Utah who were being sent here to do the training for both our partnering organizations, The Red Cross and the Banja Luka Rehabilitation Hospital in Bosnia and the Red Cross in Croatia. Here is a little back ground that I found on the World Health Organization web site.

"The wheelchair is one of the most commonly used assistive devices for enhancing personal
mobility, which is a precondition for enjoying human rights and living in dignity and assists people with disabilities to become more productive members of their communities. For many people, an appropriate, well-designed and well-fitted wheelchair can be the first step towards inclusion and participation in society.
  The United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and World Health Assembly resolution WHA58.23 all point to the importance of wheelchairs and other assistive devices for the developing world, where few of those who need wheelchairs have them, insufficient production facilities exist, and all too often wheelchairs are donated without the necessary related services.
   When the need is not met, people with disabilities are isolated and do not have access to the same opportunities as others within their own communities. Providing wheelchairs that are fit for the purpose not only enhances mobility but begins a process of opening up a world of education, work and social life. The development of national policies and increased training opportunities in the design, production and supply of wheelchairs are essential next steps."

Our Specialists were Elder and Sister Schnebley from Bountiful, Utah and Misti Timpson from Salt Lake City. Elder Schnebley and Misti are physical therapists and Sister Schnebley is a nurse so they are well qualified to teach these training seminars.

    At first thought you might ask, “So how hard is it to give a wheelchair to someone, you sit them down, maybe adjust the feet rests and send them away”. Well, we learned that there is A LOT more to it than that. We learned things like, pressure sores, balance, diagnosis, core strength, and other health problems are a big part of determining a proper fit for a wheelchair.
We spent a delightful week with our students and our specialists. Here are a few pictures that I thought you might enjoy seeing.

Our students in Banja Luka were for the most part professionals that worked at the hospital.

Some of the newer wheelchairs that are now available from the church require some mechanical know how to put them together, but they can be adjusted better to fit the individual.  This was all covered in the class and they got hands on experience at putting the chairs together.

The last day of the class the students had an opportunity to fit patients who needed wheelchairs. I found this man just standing out in the hall. I asked a translator to come help me and asked him if he was waiting for one of the patients and would he like to come in and sit down, he said, "No I am here for a wheelchair". Okaaaaay, I must have looked surprised because he at that point lifted up his pant leg and I realized that he had a prosthetic leg. Alrighty then, come on in. He was fitted for a new active wheelchair so that he could get to his dialysis center without getting so tired. He looked so good that I wondered if he really needed one, but with his declining health a chair will be a blessing.

This is Stephon, not the first time Jim and I have met him. He lives at the hospital and goes to school there so we have seen him in the play room, (usually on the computer). His aides thought he needed a larger chair that he had grown out of his so they brought him to the class. As it turned out, he was in a chair that was too large for his skinny little behind. The hospital staff makes inserts to put in the chairs to make them appropriate for kids with CP.  His old chair must have been one of the first ones brought into the country; it was looking pretty well used.

I stick this one in just so my children still know they have a mother. I have two new granddaughters however. The young lady on the right was from the Red Cross. Vicky Tadic and I told her that I was Vicky's Grandma, We almost had her convinced, but the other translator started to giggle and I think she gave way to her supensions that we were pulling her leg. Later she told Vicky, "I understand that you and Maja were teasing me, but her????  She's an old lady!! I guess old people are not allowed to have a since of humor in Bosnia.

Sister Schnebley and I escaped one afternoon and visited the play room at the hospital. We encountered these two precious faces. Yep! She's in a church wheelchair.

I think this is my favorite picture of all the ones I took this last week. It just shows all the love and emotion that these people feel when they get a wheelchair. I wasn't the one who fitted her or spent time with her to make sure she got the right chair, but I told her she was beautiful and asked her if I could take her picture. Somehow, I think because of my badge she connected me to the chair and I got this heartfelt kiss. Ohhhh... how I will cherish that memory.

This man came in with his one leg almost up to his chest. His wheelchair was just not fitted for his long lanky leg. He went out with a much better fit and a happy camper!

This man had to give his wheelchair back....his diagnosis was that he need to get out and walk more!

On to Croatia and our training with The Red Cross. Misti taught me that my camera had a timer on it! Yeah! Who would have thought I had a such an amazing camera.

They practiced on each other. Have you ever seen such a cute smile!

Elder Schnebley with our traslator, Ana.

We found a great Chineese place to eat in Zagreb.
 Sister Tanner from the office came to enjoy dinner with us, Elder and Sister Schnebley, Me, Jim.
In front is Vicky Tadic, Tihana Rendic, (our translators) and Misti Timpson

Before I quit blogging for the day, I wanted to just remind you that without your donations, there would be no wheelchair projects. Our humanitarian funds come from YOU! Everytime you put something in that little gray envelope and mark that the funds inside go to humanitarian, that is where we get our money. Our budgets do not come from other church funds. We love you all and wish that everyone of you who have ever donated to the Church Humanitarian Fund could see the lives you touch. 

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