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Meet our National Ambassador Emma Gee - Acclaimed International Speaker, Author and Young Stroke Survivor

The AIN is proud to announce Emma Gee has come on board as an ambassador to raise awareness about the value of supporting community neuro-rehabilitation programs for Australians living with physical disabilities from neurological conditions.

On 13th August 2016, Emma supported the AIN by participating in the inaugural Neuro-rehabilitation Awareness Day. She is looking forward to being part of this year’s Neuro-rehabilitation Awareness Day on 13th August.

Emma is one of Australia’s acclaimed international speakers and authors. She is the author of ‘Reinventing Emma’. Emma is herself a young stroke survivor, acquiring her condition at just 24 years of age. Prior to her stroke, Emma worked in the field of occupational therapy. Emma has uniquely experienced neuro-rehabilitation services from both the perspective of an allied health therapist as well as a patient. She is passionate about supporting AIN to raise awareness. “Funding neuro-rehabilitation services in the community to enable Australians to continue their neuro-recovery really is as important as funding research for a cure,” Emma said.

It’s so important that AIN’s community neuro-rehabilitation projects and research receive the public’s support,” Emma added. “In becoming an AIN Ambassador I want to ensure that Australians know that rehabilitation is a recognised human right. As a country we should be realising the full recovery potential of every individual and this also makes good economic sense,” Emma stated.

AIN’s Director and Immediate Past President, Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine Dr Stephen de Graaff added “We are very excited to be working with Emma. Over 700,000 Australians live with the physical, emotional and financial impact of neurological conditions. Together with Emma we will work hard to raise awareness about the value of neuro-rehabilitation and bring technology-assisted exercise programs for neuro-recovery, to communities across Australia.”

Emma urged Australians, “Please make a donation to the AIN today”. Together we can unlock new possibilities for Australians living with disabilities from brain and spinal cord conditions.”

Did you know?

Neuro-rehabilitation is what happens next, after you have been diagnosed with a neurological condition and suffered damage to your brain or spinal cord, from injury or illness. It involves a healthcare team working together on an individualised program to maximise your functional abilities, health and quality of life.
Neuroplasticity is the brain and spine’s capacity to adapt and recover after being damaged by an injury or illness. Scientific evidence has shown that exercise interventions after brain and spinal damage has occurred, can lead to NeuroRecovery. To promote positive neuroplasticity, high intensity, repetitive, task-oriented training in a stimulating environment, is needed.
NeuroRecovery is the regaining of lost function and abilities which were impaired or lost e.g. learning to use your hand again, learning to stand and take steps again. It does not end when you leave hospital. The AIN recognises that NeuroRecovery is a life-long journey.
The right to rehabilitation i.e. therapy to support recovery post injury/illness, is a human right protected under the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the Australian Government.
Australian in-patients (public) receive 25% or less of recommended daily dosages of therapy i.e. 37mins/day instead of 3hours/day. There are currently no Australian standards. In the USA, in-patients must receive a minimum of 3hours/day for at least 5 days a week.
If just 10% of carers (who are family members of the person with the disability) were able to return to the workforce, there would be a $3 billion boost into the economy. If just 2% of people with a disability could come off the pension to work, then there would be an injection of $2.5 billion into the economy. Carer support packages and return to work initiatives are only part of the solution, boosting investment in rehabilitation is integral to the solution.

“After 198 sessions, the 61 year old female had a decrease of expected lifetime expenses between $148,237 and $197,208 due to the gained function” following intense walking therapy. Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network Study
The NDIS does not fund rehabilitation programs. AIN is committed to advocacy work, to improve Australians’ access to funding sources for ongoing access to Neuro-rehabilitation programs in the community.

“Rehabilitation increases independence and reduces the need for continued care, such that the cost of rehabilitation may be offset by savings in on-going care in the community” Professor Turner-Stokes, Chair of Rehabilitation Kings College London

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