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In partnership with The Hopkins Centre, PA Hospital’s Spinal Injuries Unit is undertaking the Queensland data collection of the Australian arm of the International Spinal Cord Injury project.
As part of the wider World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Disability Plan established in 2014, the (Aus-InSCI) project aims for better health for all people with disability.
Aus-InSCI Queensland Principal Investigator, Prof Tim Geraghty said the project is a survey for community-dwelling persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) who have been discharged from a rehabilitation facility for at least 12 months with 22 countries participating, including Australia.
“The InSCI survey project represents the largest, most comprehensive survey of health-related issues, functioning, social inclusion, economic participation, environmental factors and quality of life ever conducted internationally,” Prof Geraghty said.
A total of 1579 Australians with SCI, including 481 Queenslanders, completed the first round of the community survey in 2018 with publications from this first round detailing the lived experiences, drivers of quality of life, employment landscape and factors relating to being employed for people with spinal cord injury.
“Translation work from the first round has also been completed including focus groups to gather ideas from people with SCI about how to translate key findings into meaningful actions,” he said.
“Other translation work remains ongoing and together with the findings aims to help shape and improve policy and service delivery design for people with SCI.”
From the Australian perspective, the survey provides a unique opportunity for benchmarking and identification of the challenges and lived experiences of people with SCI living in the community.
It will empower the consumer voice through a better understanding of the challenges and barriers faced by people with SCI and provide opportunities for policy change, service delivery improvement, and funding and establishment of best-practice clinician guidelines.
Prof Geraghty said that planning and development is underway for another iteration of the project for 2023, as the next phase for capturing regular and ongoing information about health, wellbeing, functioning and lived experiences of people with SCI.
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness week, 3-9 September is an opportune time to acknowledge the research directions by the local project team of Prof Geraghty, Sam Borg, Delena Amsters, Dr Sridhar Atresh and Rachel Jones, as well as the work of our clinical team every day in the Spinal Injuries Unit.