On November 5-7, 2013, Paralyzed Veterans of America's Associate Advocacy Director Lee Page and Texas Paralyzed Veterans member Derrick Perkins trained over 100 personnel from AirServ, a company contracting with United and American Airlines to provide transfer assistance (among other services) at Houston Intercontinental Airport and Dallas Ft.-Worth International Airport.
Each session began with introductions about Paralyzed Veterans and detailed discussion about catastrophic spinal cord injury the cause and affects of living with the disability. Lee and Derrick both demonstrated their method of transfer from wheelchair to aisle chair – both are extremely independent. Then there were transfers among the AirServ personnel, emphasis was placed on coordinated communications, team work, and ensuring the security and safety of the passenger.
There was candid discussion about durable medical equipment (DME), wheelchairs and the different type, costs, seating systems, cushions and the importance of skin care. Other issues related to spinal cord injuries that were discussed included: catheters, ostomy and colostomies, leg bags, spasms, atrophy of skin, muscle, tissue, bone and the danger of pressure sores, being careful of any body part (feet, elbows, hips, etc.) that may extend past the aisle chair, and essentially that the assistant needs to feel comfortable asking about anything they aren’t sure of.
Paralyzed Veterans' Advocacy Department staff will continue to work with AirServ and inform and involve chapters in any local trainings.
Read more about Paralyzed Veterans of America's work on Capitol Hill