Auto insurance companies pay to repair damage to vehicles after an accident–everybody knows that. But in many cases, the car is not all that’s damaged. In those cases, insurers also help injured occupants of the vehicles return to their normal lives.
A person’s life can change in an instant after an accident or a major surgery. How do you open a door or turn on a light after losing function in your hands? How do you get around after a major spinal injury? Tasks like these, which most take for granted, must be re-learned by patients in rehabilitation looking to regain their independence after a life-changing event.
At MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., a dedicated team of physical and occupational therapists spend countless hours helping patients improve their overall quality of life. The hospital’s outpatient center has a fully working kitchen, a bedroom, sidewalks and steps where patients can train and learn how to function in real-world situations.
One of the last major steps to regaining full independence involves getting back behind the wheel. To help overcome that obstacle, Volkswagen Group of America recently donated a car and GEICO had it equipped with special modifications so that patients at the Rehabilitation Hospital could use it as a training vehicle.
The Passat was pretty much taken apart and put back together in order to get it inside the hospital and locked into a stationary position in the training area for patients.
Now they use the car daily to relearn how to enter and exit and work the main vehicle controls – skills that can be directly transferred to a real-world driving setting outside the hospital.
By Mike Young
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