CPA Hamilton – Peer Support Program

DWA LAW, through our sponsorship of CPA Hamilton Peer Support, is very proud to be able to be part of ensuring that this vital program is available to all those who need it.

Immediately after a spinal cord injury, it’s most important that individuals experiencing the effect of the injury and their families know that they are not alone and there is hope and life after a spinal cord injury. Peer support staff and volunteers from the Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) either have a spinal cord injury (SCI) or have an immediate family member with a spinal cord injury. They are right there when needed most—beginning the connection during the acute and/or rehabilitation phase of the journey with SCI and continuing to full integration back to the community.

Peer Support at CPA Hamilton assists people who are experiencing the impact of spinal cord injury (SCI) in their lives by complementing professional services provided in acute care hospitals, rehabilitation centers and community based health and social service agencies. Peer support staff and volunteers reach many with SCI through their working relationships with large trauma centers and rehabilitation centers in Ontario, including the Hamilton Rehabilitation Centre.

Whenever possible, CPA Hamilton peer support staff and volunteers visit clients immediately after a spinal cord injury or diagnosis to offer personal peer support and provide information. CPA continue their supportive and educational role during the rehabilitation process through Peer Connection seminars on a variety of topics of relevance to individuals with SCI and their families. Staff at CPA Hamilton also offer Lunch and Learn information sessions to health care professionals to address their questions about working with SCI patients and to inform them of the programs and support services provided by CPA Ontario.

Peer support volunteers are willing to help those who are newly injured and their families throughout their journey to rehabilitation. For people with new SCI, thinking about the challenges of the future can be daunting. Nobody should have to contemplate these life changes in isolation. By listening, sharing their own experiences and providing practical information, these volunteers provide one-to-one support to persons who have sustained an injury and their families.

Frequency of SCI

A spinal cord injury can happen to anyone at any time. There are 600 new spinal cord injuries every year in Ontario (more than one a day) and current estimates indicate that there are approximately 33,140 Ontarians living with a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injury is one of the most traumatic events to occur in an individual’s life and affects family, friends, employers, the community and the health care system.

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