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23 May 2011

The Congress and Assembly of Delegates 2011 took place last week in De Rijp, the Netherlands and was hosted by the Dutch organisation Dwarslaesie Organisatie Nederland. The Congress was held at the Hotel De Rijper Eilanden, north of Amsterdam, which provided an ideal and accessible setting for the meeting of around 90 participants.
Considering “Quality” ...
ESCIF was pleased to be able to welcome both old friends and new colleagues among the delegates, speakers and sponsors. The topic for the Congress was “Proven” Quality in SCI Rehabilitation and each speaker approached the topic of quality from his/her own perspective – as consumer, as healthcare provider, as SCI professional etc. To introduce the theme, Marius Buiting gave a fascinating talk which questioned our traditional concepts of what quality is and how we can achieve it. The final session of the Congress was a workshop discussion in three groups designed to elicit input for a forthcoming policy statement on quality considerations in SCI rehabilitation. All the presentations can be downloaded.
Assembly of Delegates ...
The final morning of the meeting included the Assembly of Delegates and a consideration of future activities. The Executive Board was very pleased to “welcome back” Winnifred De Moes who was re-elected to the Executive and who will continue in the role of ESCIF Vice President. Further, the delegates approved the admission of three new member organisations – LARS from Norway, Alarme from France and the Czech Paraplegic Association.
Future activities ...
The session on future activities was a little pressured by time constraints; this was unfortunate since the speakers had many interesting messages to convey. Corinne Jeanmaire, who has been active in the SCI research working group since the last meeting in Lobbach in 2010, presented the research section of the website and, in particular, the information on “Unproven Therapies”. ESCIF believes that this section of the website will prove an invaluable source of information for those who may be considering some kind of “alternative therapy”. The working group will continue to update and expand the section – and, in particular, will focus on promoting responsible and promising scientific research towards functional recovery.
Olena Pysarska from the Ukraine described the challenges faced by people living with SCI in that country, and sought advice and assistance from other members on how the association could tackle the situation.
Ramazan Bas, the President of the association in Turkey, gave a very brief introduction to a project to make historical buildings accessible to people with disabilities – including wheelchair users.
Finally, Lia Vasickova from ParaCENTRUM Fenix in Brno described the aims and provisional results of a survey into the granting and reimbursement of personal and mobility aids, and compensatory services in various ESCIF member countries.
Socialising ...
As always at ESCIF Congresses, the delegates were enthusiastic both in work and play! The Delegates Dinner provided the organisers with the opportunity to offer a couple of surprises. A competition to find the delegate who had survived longest after a spinal cord injury identified Dick de Winkel from the Netherlands; Dick became the proud owner of a pair of handmade, made-to-measure traditional wooden clogs! (Perhaps not the most useful prize for a wheelchair user – although perhaps he can use them to protect his feet when opening heavy doors ...!?). The next surprise was sponsored by Coloplast – a show by the Dutch sit-down comedian Jaap Bressers. You can read about Jaap by following the link:
On Friday afternoon, the organisers had arranged a sightseeing tour of Amsterdam – in a wheelchair-friendly canal boat. The sun was shining, the tour guide was amusing ... all in all, a great way to end a busy few days!
Thanks ...
The ESCIF Executive would like, once again, to thank the organising committee for all their work and effort. They did a great job and the result was a really fantastic Congress.
Congress 2012 ...
Our Italian member organisation FAIP have kindly offered to host the Congress and Assembly of Delegates next year. Please reserve the dates: 23 – 25 May 2012 and check out the venue on http://www.igirasoli.ar.it/e_index.html. More information will follow after the summer.

Jane Horsewell
ESCIF President

ESCIF Congress 2011 – an unforgettable experience! was posted by ESCIF.
To discuss any of its subject matter further please contact ESCIF.

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