Thanks to the charitable contributions of the Sichuan Earthquake Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Relief Fund and with the help of similar fundraising, the StandTALL project was initiated. StandTALL recognised that it is important to not only rebuild a damaged body, but also to build up the mind. Trauma patients require a rehabilitation programme that not only repairs and nurtures the body, but also encourages the patients’ mind and will to overcome their new difficulties and obstacles.
Shortly after the earthquake, a small team of orthopaedic specialists travelled to Guangzhou and Sichuan where many patients were being transferred to be treated. They helped to treat patients and identified problems that would need to be addressed in the overall long-term care of these patients. In July 2008, a forum was held with over 200 participants to discuss the progress of rehabilitation and how to best assist patients with long-term rehabilitation issues. This forum aided the project by helping to determine where resources were required and the most important factors to consider during treatment and rehabilitation. A second forum held in September 2008, and which was attended by over 150 orthopaedic professionals, discussed progress and cases from the Sichuan earthquake as well as fracture rehabilitation, community rehabilitation, pain rehabilitation and spinal cord rehabilitation. Similar forums were held in May 2009, February 2010, and May 2010.
In January 2009, less than a year after the earthquake, the Sichuan-Hong Kong Rehabilitation Centre was listed to be built in Sichuan by 2012. This centre serves the long-term rehabilitation needs of the Sichuan earthquake survivors and patients with similar injuries, and provides free prosthetic services, comprehensive rehabilitation, and training. Additionally, the centre educated students and orthopaedic surgeons through rehabilitation training courses held throughout 2010. These courses aimed to provide better information to orthopaedic specialists on how to deal with orthopaedic trauma and long-term rehabilitation.
Since 2008, the StandTALL project has continued to follow up with patients from the Sichuan earthquake, provide consultations, and provide information on how to better deal with disasters such as these in the future.