As part of Spinal Life Australia’s renewed strategic direction, one of our key goals is to engage more in research to improve the lives of people with spinal cord damage and the wider community.
Through partnerships with The Hopkins Centre, Griffith University and other leading research institutions, there will be more opportunities than ever for our members to take part in a range of exciting projects.
We have also formed a Research and Innovation Committee (pictured) that includes member representatives, who will work with our team to evaluate potential opportunities and help to guide the development of projects.
Current research projects
Improper use of disability parking spaces
Many of our members have shared how their daily lives are negatively impacted when people who do not have a disability parking permit use these spaces.
We have commenced some research to gather information about steps that could be taken to reduce this problem.
An initial meeting has been held with a small focus group of members to create a list of potential activities to be undertaken over the coming months. We will be sharing more about this soon, as we work to gather more data to strengthen our advocacy position.
Personal support worker assistance in hospital
Many of our members have shared negative experiences when trying to have their personal support workers or carers continue to provide assistance when they are admitted to hospital.
We will be conducting a member survey soon to explore this issue, which will inform our advocacy approach to state and Australian government agencies.
We will be sharing a summary of these results, along with responses from the relevant Government agencies, when this data is collated.
Navability mapping software
We are continuing to work with software developers Briometrix, who have created the Navability mapping app that features information such as gradient, speed and effort required for routes in an easy-to-understand map.
We will be continuing to assist with research that explores how our members can gather data using their mobile devices to influence local and state government agencies to improve planning and carry out remedial action on local footpaths and roadways to make them more accessible.
We will be seeking members to participate in this research in several areas of Queensland during 2019.
Reducing barriers when accessing mainstream services
Access to mainstream services such as employment, education, transport and health are critical factors that can affect the everyday lives of people with spinal cord damage.
This project, funded by the Australian Government, aims to identify priorities for action to reduce barriers in accessing these services.
Deakin University and Swinburne University researchers have already undertaken significant research with our members, with further reports to be released soon.
Improving access to health services in the community
Griffith University researchers are exploring access to health services, to ensure people with spinal cord damage can maintain their health and participate fully in society.
The research results will be used to understand how to improve the accessibility of health facilities for people with spinal cord damage and other mobility impairments, and will inform our advocacy activities in future.
The first phase of the project involved a survey for our members and clients to share their personal experiences, with the next phase to be announced soon.
Innovation, Design, Experiment and Apply (IDEA) project
In partnership with The Hopkins Centre, we are aiming to understand how members approach daily challenges and the innovative solutions they have developed to deal with them.
The project will initially take place in Brisbane and surrounds through a series of workshops, with plans to extend to further regions. Researchers will then explore how these innovative ideas can be further developed and shared with the community.
Singing Cords pilot project
The Singing Cords pilot program, led by singer Tim McCallum, will work with patients of the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Spinal Injuries Unit, to investigate the medical benefits of singing to enhance breathing, voice and wellbeing for people with a spinal cord injury.
The Singing Cords program was developed by The Hopkins Centre with support from Spinal Life. To find out more, click here.
Stay up to date
If you’re not yet a member, you can sign up here.
For any enquiries about Spinal Life’s research activities, contact us.