PTSG – Post Traumatic Stress Gratitude

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Fighting back and reinventing yourself following a spinal cord injury or surgery is often traumatic. One former patient from Toronto Rehab’s Lyndhurst Centre for Spinal Cord Rehab creatively coined the term “PTSG” – Post Traumatic Stress Gratitude - to describe his compulsion to donate in tribute to those who provided genuine warmth and care during his recovery.

Following spinal fusion surgery in August 2016, Stephen Knox spent twelve weeks as an inpatient at Lyndhurst. In preparation for his transition home, he lived in the Transitional Apartment Suite where patients prepare for discharge by sleeping, eating and practicing their daily routines in a home-like environment while continuing their therapy programs. While there, he was appreciative of the opportunity to build skills and confidence in his ability to function upon his return home.

“The biggest thing about Lyndhurst is that it makes you feel like you’re at home,” says Stephen. “And they treated us like family… it was greatly appreciated.”

Once home and continuing therapy as an outpatient, he consulted with Occupational Therapists to identify a number of improvements that could be made for future Transitional Apartment Suite residents so that they would be better supported. His family generously established a fund for redecorating plus new furnishings, appliances, cookware, and utensils. The fund also supports grocery cards so that patients have ingredients to practice their culinary skills plus other tools and supplies to enhance therapy.

“We are grateful for the generous donation that Stephen and his family have given us,” says Holly Assaf, Occupational Therapist and Professional Practice Leader at Toronto Rehab. “This gift has provided both the occupational therapy team and our patients more opportunity to explore real life situations in our rehab setting. This is done with greater access to technology and devices that patients can trial and use. Our patients have expressed that these opportunities have improved their confidence in returning home.”

In recognition of their support, the Stephen & Beth Knox Family Kitchen has been named in the Transitional Apartment Suite at Lyndhurst Centre.

Inspired by the transformation of the space and the Knox’s dedication, Toronto-based assistive technology company, Novalte, partnered with Toronto Rehab to install in the Suite an “emitto” hub; an integrated daily living platform that centrally controls lights, doors, TVs, cable boxes, fans, and hospital beds. The product has been designed to interface with existing smart home devices that are readily available in stores, but that often do not meet all the requirements for an individual with a physical disability, to aid individuals in interacting more easily with their environment.  

“Even though we are a technology company, we are changing peoples’ lives, giving them the power of choice to live more independently,” says Michael Cullen, Co-Founder and CEO, Novalte.

Toronto Rehab Foundation thanks Stephen and Beth Knox, and Novalte, for their generous and insightful support of Toronto Rehab’s Spinal Cord Rehab program.

If you had an exceptional experience at Toronto Rehab, we encourage you to Celebrate Your Rehab Champion with a donation in honour of the person or program who helped make incredible happen for you.

In photo (L-R): Spinal Cord Rehab Occupational Therapists, Holly Assaf and Colleen Anderson; Toronto Rehab Foundation Director of Development, Arlene Boyce; retired Physiotherapist, Courtland Thomson; donors Stephen and Beth Knox; and Medical Lead of the Spinal Cord Rehab program and Senior Scientist, Dr. Cathy Craven; celebrate the naming of the Stephen & Beth Knox Family Kitchen.