NorCal SCI joins the Sutter Rehabilitation Institute Support Group

NorCal SCI co-founder Nick Struthers traveled up to the Sacramento area last Thursday to take part in the Roseville SCI support group's meeting at the Sutter Rehabilitation Institute, which is coordinated by Todd Boyer. Nick reports on his day in Sacramento where he also dropped in to UC Davis Medical Center to meet up with Holly Bleasdale who organizes the UC Davis SCI Support group.

 Char and Nick at UC Davis Medical Center

Char and Nick at UC Davis Medical Center

I'd invited my friend Char Vine, who is well known for her work in the SCI Community in Sacramento, to join myself and Holly Bleasdale to discuss the work of NorCal SCI and how NorCal SCI could support the patients at UC Davis. Holly coordinates the social services for the rehab patients at UC Davies. 

I met Char at the UC Davis Medical Center Lobby and Holly joined us a few minutes later.  Holly led myself and Char down from the main hospital reception to the rehab unit and we ended up in the same conference room where the weekly support group meets. After a short time in Holly's company, it was obvious that she was doing all she could to support her patients in a caring and compassionate way.

Myself and Char gave Holly an overview of what we are doing to support the community and we discussed what we could do to engage with UC Davis to support the patients there. As I have agreed to present at one of the support group meetings later in the month, I'll be able to give a clearer picture of the UC Davis Support Group then. I want to thank Holly for taking the time out of her hectic day to meet with myself and Char and I'm excited about presenting at the Support Group very soon.

Despite driving in rush hour traffic, I was pleasantly surprised that the Highways in Sacramento move so much better than those in the Bay Area (you were spot on Char).  I arrived at The Sutter Rehabilitation Institute (SRI) in Roseville in plenty of time for the 6:30 p.m. meeting.

 Sutter Rehabilitation Institute Entrance

Sutter Rehabilitation Institute Entrance

I was waiting in the comfortable reception hall when Todd rolled in and introduced himself.  SRI is very well appointed in a purpose-built setting on the outskirts of Roseville. What was nice to see was a very well-equipped outdoor area overlooking the Sierra Foothills which had a good mixture of sporting and rehabilitation structures. 

 SRI Outside Rehab and Recreation

SRI Outside Rehab and Recreation

I followed Todd into the Rehab Gym where the meeting was to take place and there were already several wheelchair users there. There was a positive vibe coming from the small group and it continued to increase as more participants rolled in. I counted more than 10 wheelchair users and at least another 10 family and rehab staff members when Todd got the meeting started. As a veteran of over 100 group meetings, I was impressed by the way Todd facilitated the meeting and how he encouraged participation. There were also three inpatients attending the meeting and Todd was sensitive to their situation when different topics were discussed. 

SRI has been awarded Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities(CARF) Accreditation and that would not be possible without Todd's efforts in establishing the Support Group and coordinating Peer Mentoring. After the meeting, he gave me a quick tour of the impressive facility. It was clear that Todd was justifiably proud of the set up at SRI. What was also obvious was his passion and effectiveness in providing support and encouragement to both the patients in the hospital and the SCI/D individuals and family members in the community,

 Nick, Todd, Lisa and Carey at the SRI Support Group

Nick, Todd, Lisa and Carey at the SRI Support Group

Special thanks to Todd for being such a welcoming host and we at NorCal SCI are looking forward to working with Todd and SRI to support the Roseville-area SCI Community.