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Visitation reports - Winter 2008

They say that a business is considered successful by the amount by how busy it is.  For us at A.I.M., it is the opposite for the Visitations business.  We would prefer to see the need for Visitations go down.

This year has been extremely busy; busier than last year.  Most likely because we had better weather than last year which brings more people out on their two-wheelers.  On the other hand, we can say that we have been there to provide service to those riders who went down, and that is a good thing.

Adding to the needs of downed riders are the decreasing budgets in the medical sector.  This has resulted in reduced services available to all injured or ill citizens including downed riders.  This year we have also noticed a big push by hospitals to discharge the patients from their acute care beds much earlier than before, the mantra being that their bed is needed.

In our opinion, some of our riders are discharged too early, losing the opportunity of the various hospital provided services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and even counseling to achieve satisfactory recovery.

We have assisted some downed riders to obtain further treatment at the G. F. Strong Rehabilitation Center which provides excellent treatment to severely injured patients - the most comprehensive in the province.

One floor is dedicated to paraplegia, another to quadriplegia, and another to brain injuries.  For example, most motorcycle accidents involve some form of brain injury.  Even the very slightest without loss of consciousness can still recover much better and faster with proper psychological treatment.

At G. F. Strong they have the staff and expertise to add that component to the treatment regimen if required.

How busy have we been?  So far this year, as of this writing on December 22, 2008, we have made at total of 364 visitations.

Think about it ... that averages out to over 7 visitations per week.

The rate, of course, is lower in the winter and spring, and higher in the summer and fall when more downed riders are in hospital.

We visited a total of 45 downed riders during the year and helped 35 family members as well (including phone consultations).  Currently we are offering services to 2 downed riders at G. F. Strong and to three others who are not in hospital.  One downed rider has been in hospital almost two years now and looks forward to our visits.

With almost non-existent family support and the drying up of visits by his friends, our visits become increasingly important.  We are always there for him.  He has just been discharged to the George Pearson Center - a long term care facility.  The other downed rider will be discharged back home to the Okanogan mid-January.

One of the most important services we provide, if not the most important, is making available a list of lawyers experienced in motorcycle claims, and most of the downed riders chose one to represent them.  Although there is a very small fee involved if it is a Part 7 claim (and we had quite a few of them) the lawyers on our list still give all their expertise and many hours to resolve the claim to the downed rider's satisfaction.

Our hats are off (in alphabetical order) to Daryl Brown, George Geraghty and Jim McNeneny for their services to our downed riders.

Many thanks are extended to our growing staff of Visitation Volunteers.  We now have three doing regular Visitations as well as myself and Dave Munro.  They are doing a terrific job.  They instinctively know the right thing to say and do.  The downed riders look forward to them.

One last note, the Visitation Journal and Training Guidelines are nearing completion and will be ready for next season.

To everyone we wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and remember, do not ride with your shirt off ... it's too cold out there!

Gary Richardson, Director, Visitations.

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