Research in this areas looks at the way technology can be utilised to support people with disabilities.

Horizon Scanning

Access to information on new and emerging health technologies, treatments and services allows healthcare decision makers to anticipate and better address existing and emerging health challenges. ISCRR’s Horizon Scanning program identifies technologies that are one to three years from reaching the Australian market and provides an assessment of the evidence of their effectiveness. These scans provide decision-makers and health services with early identification of new technologies and services and ongoing monitoring of the next wave of innovation.

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Acquired brain injury

Acquired brain injury is the leading cause of disability in Australia and affects one in 45 people. Several research projects coordinated and managed by ISCRR have used research to inform the development of a state-wide, evidence-based acquired brain injury rehabilitation program, as well as building a comprehensive picture of how traumatic brain injury affects the lives of patients and their families.

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Review of incentivised models of care Research Report

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and Health and Disability Strategy Group (HDSG) are exploring ways in which they can facilitate the best outcomes for their clients who experience disability, especially maximising independence. This includes identifying or developing innovative models for care services that are cost effective, whilst improving the quality of client experience and outcomes. To facilitate this, a review was commissioned from the research team by the TAC, to identify and assess the transferability of incentivised models of care to the (TAC) Victorian compensable injury context, and how this might be achieved. This study aimed to identify and evaluate incentivised models of care within and outside the disability sector, in order to identify practices suitable for transfer to the TAC compensable sector in Victoria. The review found that the use of incentivised care models in the disability care sector has thus far been limited.

Authors: Cooke, F L ; Veen, A

Keywords: spinal cord injury; neurotrauma; acquired brain injury; evidence-based; quality of life

Date published: July 2016

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Evaluating the transferability of innovative models of care Research Report

This study built on the new models of care study and examined good practice examples of models of care in use locally and internationally in the disability and related care sectors. Identifying good practice models and applying them locally can improve client experience and outcomes, and make service-delivery more cost-effective. The study identified four key innovations in models of care which have potential to be applied to Victoria.

Authors: Cooke, F L ; Cooney, R; McLoughlin, I ; Sridaran, K

Keywords: spinal cord injury; neurotrauma; traumatic brain injury; aquired brain injury; best practice

Date published: January 2016

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Telehealth for carers' communication skills Research Report

Many carers of people with TBI experience high levels of psychological distress. Support in managing the consequences of TBI is required not just for the person with the injury, but for their whole support network. However, it is difficult for carers to access support or training. Many live in rural or regional areas that do not have specialist brain injury services. Where services do exist, the time required for caring for the person with TBI, or meeting other commitments may prevent carers from accessing services. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility and efficiency of using telehealth (Skype) for diagnostic evaluation and communication for people with TBI and their carers. Researchers concluded that videoconferencing is a potential tool for increasing access to supports and services for people with TBI and their families

Authors: Togher, L; Power, E; Rietdijk, R

Keywords: traumatic brain injury; aquired brain injury; neurotrauma

Date published: March 2015

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Steady state visual evoked potential SSVEP based brain computer interface BCI Research Report

This study developed a brain computer interface typewriter able to be integrated into a tablet to allow quadriplegic patients with no hand movement to communicate. The interface converts naturally generated responses from localised brain sources as a result of visual stimulation to communication. The designed methodology (hardware and software) is suitable for implementation on tablet computers, making the system largely inexpensive, portable, and user friendly. Testing of the system resulted in improvements in speed and accuracy, and increasing suitability for other applications.

Authors: Zhang, J; Kumar, D; Aliahmad, B

Keywords: spinal cord injury; residential independence; rehabilitation

Date published: August 2014

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Who gets into rehabilitation and why? A qualitative survey of decision making Research Report

Inpatient rehabilitation is common following trauma, however variations in admission practices have been reported. This study examined how and why rehabilitation fellows make decisions regarding admission to rehabilitation for trauma patients in Victoria. There was diversity of opinions regarding suitability of individual patients for rehabilitation, the role of outpatient rehabilitation or when decisions about discharge destination should be made. This research highlights opportunities to engage with stakeholders in both acute care and rehabilitation settings, to develop more consistent discharge processes that optimise the use of rehabilitation resources.

Authors: Holland, A; Kimmel, L; Gabbe, B; Olver, J; Unsworth, C; Lannin, N

Keywords: acquired brain injury; neurotrauma; best practice ; rehabilitation

Date published: November 2013

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Development of an integrated, distributed clinical research database for spinal cord injury Research Report

This study assembled a comprehensive, cost-efficient dataset for the Victorian Spinal Cord Service and documented it with a data dictionary. These data fields are mapped to clinical care within the unit, and staff of the Victorian Spinal Cord Service were involved in developing a protocol for how the data was embedded into routine clinical care. The result is a more efficient way to collect information about spinal cord injury.

Authors: Berlowitz, D; Graco, M

Keywords: spinal cord injury; best practice ; health care; evidence-based

Date published: October 2013

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The costs and benefits of end user engagement in disability research: A snapshot review Evidence Review

This review examined the evidence surrounding the benefits and costs of involving people with disabilities in research by assessing research questions and outcomes. The review identified five papers which were specific to engaging with people with disabilities in the research context. The evidence showed that the involvement of end users had a positive impact on both end user and researcher through ensuring relevance and appropriateness of the research. The barriers to engaging with end users in a research context were found to be related to the extra time required for involving people with disabilities, and the possible need for researcher training.

Authors: Joss, N; Oldenburg, B

Keywords: neurotrauma; acquired brain injury; traumatic brain injury; spinal cord injury; evidence base

Date published: September 2013

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New models of care: Developing a better coordinated, high quality system of care for people with disabilities Research Report

This study assessed the implications for service delivery by organisations providing care for people with spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury in light of TAC’s adoption of new client-centred approach. The research identified that therapies and care provided need to be based on building positive behaviours, independence and personal goal setting. The skills and competencies of care workers were assessed to determine their future training needs and identify the potential for the adoption of new service delivery models based on continuous improvement and service innovation. The study also examined how digital technology might be designed and deployed to support such service delivery.

Authors: Sohal, A; McLoughlin, I; Lee Cooke, F; Prajogo, D; Cooney, R; Ying Lu, C; Purushothaman, K; Bayati-Bojakhi, S

Keywords: acquired brain injury; neurotrauma; spinal cord injury; traumatic brain injury; model of care; best practice ; residential independence

Date published: July 2013

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Provider performance measurement and management - external environmental scan Research Report

Performance management (PM) is described as a management control process supported by performance measurement. The Health Services Group (HSG) does not currently have an over-arching clear and transparent Provider Performance Management Framework. This research identified a need for developing a Provider Performance Management Framework to assist management of the various providers involved in the compensation system and measuring ongoing provider performance. The project identified international best practice in this area, and identified that implementation of the Provider Performance Management Framework will require engagement with, and participation from stakeholder groups.

Authors: Douglas, J

Keywords: health care; best practice ; evidence-based; guidelines

Date published: July 2013

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Segmented rehabilitation: A rapid review Evidence Review

Segmented care involves grouping individuals into a rehabilitation stream according to a common goal, injury type or shared motivation such as returning to work, school, or daily living. This approach is based on evidence which suggests that each of these vocational goals requires separate skills, and as a result, the rehabilitation program needs to help clients develop these skills. This review identified that there was only limited scientific evidence available to support segmented care in general, including segmenting care by shared goal such as return to work. The concept of segmented care according to a shared goal such as a vocational outcome (return to work) has evidence-based grounds but there is currently no evidence to support that this will lead to better client outcomes. There is insufficient evidence to have confidence that segmented approaches to rehabilitation or any inpatient models of vocational rehabilitation will improve outcomes for people with acquired brain injury.

Authors: Lannin, N; Morarty, J; Laver, K

Keywords: aquired brain injury; traumatic brain injury; neurotrauma; return to work; RTW; rehabilitation

Date published: May 2013

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Review of current and emerging assistive technologies for the reduction of care attendant hours: Cost effectiveness, decision making tools and emerging practices Evidence Review

Assistive technologies have the potential to enhance the independence of people with brain and spinal cord injuries. A review of the evidence of effectiveness of these technologies was commissioned, particularly focused on the ability of assistive technologies to reduce attendance care requirements and increase quality of life. The review identified 33 technologies that were available in 2011, however there was a lack of scientific published evidence of the effectiveness of the technologies for reducing attendant care requirements. As such clinical effectiveness in this regard could not be established at the time. This evidence review informed the development of a decision making tool for assessing claims for assistive technology. The Horizon Scanning project was also established at ISCRR and has continued to identify and assess new technologies as they emerge.

Authors: McDonald, R; Thomacos, N; Inglis, K

Keywords: acquired brain injury; spinal cord injury; neurotrauma; traumatic brain injury; decision-making

Date published: April 2013

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Classification management and outcomes of severe pelvic ring fractures Research Report

Pelvic ring fractures are uncommon but carry a high mortality rate and significant complications, which affects a survivor’s quality of life. This study established the importance of accurate pelvic ring fracture classification, and assessed the differences in long-term outcomes and mortality levels across differing treatment approaches. The study identified that one specific type of treatment, fixation of the fracture, was associated with better health-related quality of life outcomes for patients.

Authors: Gabbe, B; Hofstee, D; de Steiger, R; Bucknill, A; Esser, M; Russ, M; Cameron, P

Keywords: diagnosis; guidelines; best practice ; evidence-based

Date published: July 2012

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