About the organization

The public NGO «All-Ukrainian Association of People with Disabilities «Group for Active Rehabilitation»(hereinafter – GAR) is called to carry out activities to promote active rehabilitation of people with spine and spinal cord injuries in Ukraine who use wheelchairs by introducing principles of active rehabilitation with the aim of independent and full inclusion of people after a spinal injury in all aspects of society’s life.

Active rehabilitation is a complex of measures on the use of physical culture and sport, aimed at self-service, maximum independence in everyday life, social integration and activity of a person, who has an injury or disease of the spine or spinal cord and therefore moves on a wheelchair. The main components of active rehabilitation process are the physical, psychological and social rehabilitation.

Practice areas:

  • Creation of a database of persons with spinal cord injury;
  • Holding active rehabilitation camps for people with spinal injury;
  • Realization of the  “First Contact” program in medical and rehabilitation institutions;
  • Conducting seminars for active rehabilitation trainers to improve their skills to work within active rehabilitation camps;
  • Conducting seminars for active rehabilitation trainers who work on the “First Contact” program with persons just after spinal cord injury;
  • Seminars for employees of medical institutions that work with patients with spinal injuries;
  • Cooperation with organizations working towards active rehabilitation from Sweden, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania;
  • Release thematic literature, manuals, training videos, etc.

Active rehabilitation camps

Active rehabilitation camp is one of the most effective methods of restoring physical and social conditions of the person after spinal injury.

The purpose of the camp is the achievement of the persons in wheelchairs their maximum independence from outside help and thus improves the quality of their lives. The philosophy of the camp is based on the slogan: “If you’ve leant how to live in a wheelchair yourself – teach another to do this also”. The main role in the learning process play instructors in wheelchairs who have great psycho-emotional influence on the camp’s participants, as are compelling examples of the real possibility to live a full life at the same level as the other people do.

Methods of active rehabilitation camps had been received from the Swedish NGO Rekryteringsgruppen.

Active rehabilitation camp’s program includes:

  • Learning how to use the wheelchair of the active type;
  • Improving the physical condition and skills of self-service through training sessions for various sports the motor activity (technique of using the wheelchair, general physical training, swimming, archery, table tennis, aerobics, etc.);
  • Dissemination of information relating to prevention of complications after the spinal cord injury, personal hygiene, intimate sphere, legal issues, adaptation of the house, etc.

In Ukraine, active rehabilitation camps started in 1991 and are held exclusively by GAR. From 2002 active rehabilitation camps are supported by Ukrainian Center “Invasport” and individual philanthropists.

Now GAR organizes camps:

  • For persons just after the spinal cord injury and for those persons who use the wheelchair but have insufficient physical and theoretical skills for independent living;
  • for those who already passed the first camp to improve skills acquired during their first camp;
  • for people with injuries in the cervical spine;
  • for active rehabilitation trainers to improve their skills.

GAR plans to organize camps for children with lesions of the musculoskeletal system, for women with injuries of the spine and spinal cord, sports camps for people who want to lead a more active lifestyle.

The “First contact” program

The important point to for the person just after the spinal cord injury, which is in a hospital or rehabilitation center, is the first contact with instructors of the active rehabilitation.

The objective of the «First Contact» program is the finding of the persons after the injury and providing them with comprehensive information support, encourage to exercise and an active lifestyle.

Instructors of the “First contact” program are, in most cases, people who have had the same injury of the spine and spinal cord and are an example of opportunities for people who live in a wheelchair, can skillfully use their wheelchairs, are independent in life, have theoretical and practical knowledge of the problems and needs of people after the spinal cord injury.

The “First contact” instructors can give the following information:

  • How to avoid pressure sores and contractures;
  • How to choose the wheelchair of the active type and where to get it;
  • Can tell about different kinds of personal hygiene products and how to choose the right one;
  • What organizations work with people after spinal injury;
  • How to fill individual rehabilitation program;
  • What is the active rehabilitation camp and how to take part in it;
  • What is a sanatorium treatment;
  • How to adapt the apartment to the needs of person in a wheelchair;
  • Where is rehabilitation centers for spinal patients in Ukraine;
  • How to work with public authorities

The “First contact” instructors work closely with families, informing them about the opportunities and needs of persons after the injury or disease of the spinal cord.

Seminars for the hospital staff

In a frame of active rehabilitation camps GAR fulfill seminars for employees of medical institutions that work with patients with spinal injuries (doctors, rehabilitators, nurses and exercise instructors) as well as with teachers of higher educational institutions related to rehabilitation.

The purpose of these events is to show needs and abilities of a person with the spinal cord injury during the post-hospital period.

Philosophy of these seminars is based on the possibility for its participants to look at the problem of people with a spinal cord injury on the other hand. That means to feel in the situation of a person who moves in a wheelchair, to see more restrictions, which they did not notice before and did not pay any attention to.

The course is designed including the experience of countries such as Sweden, Poland, United Kingdom and United States of America.

The seminar’s program provides practical and theoretical sessions:

  • History of the active rehabilitation’s movement;
  • Technique of the belaying and moving the person in the wheelchair;
  • Technique of the using the wheelchair of the active type;
  • the selection of the wheelchair;
  • prevention of pressure sores, contractures and urological problems;
  • sex and procreation;
  • Attendance and participation in training sessions of the active rehabilitation camps.

Seminars’ participants will be able to use all the knowledge and skills they acquire when returns to work. In the future they become partners of GAR in the “First Contact” program by providing information on the presence of people with spinal cord injuries in their institutions.