NeuroMatters News

Outcome of ONF Summit on Neuropathic Pain featured in The Canadian Journal of Pain article

Outcomes from the November 2016 National Canadian Pain Summit that explored effective neuropathic pain management following a spinal cord injury (SCI) have now been published in the Canadian Journal of Pain. “Advancing research and clinical care in the management of neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury: Key findings from a Canadian summit”.

The Neuropathic Pain Summit, sponsored by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and the Rick Hansen Institute, was chaired by Dr. Eldon Loh of the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario. Dr. Loh also led the team that analyzed summit findings and wrote the journal article. Summit participants included clinicians, researchers and policy-makers as well as people living with SCI who together addressed an agenda that focused on the current state of the field, creation of a long-term vision and steps to move the vision into action.

The Canadian Journal of Pain is the peer-reviewed publication of the Canadian Pain Society. The CPS is a society of scientists and health professionals who have a vested interest in pain research and management. ONF contributors to the CPS article included Dr. Tara Jeji (Program Director Spinal Cord Injury) and Dr. Keith Hayes (Provincial Lead, Spinal Cord Research).

Implementation moves into the active phase for Clinical ONF/INESSS Practice Guidelines for Moderate to Severe TBI and the ONF Standards for Post-Concussion Care

The implementation phase activities for both the Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) for the Rehabilitation of Adults with Moderate to Severe TBI (ONF and the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux INESSS) and the ONF Standards for Post-Concussion Care  are now well underway.

“We have nine active implementation projects for the CPG that are being supported by ONF and three others that are still in the planning stage,” says Judy Gargaro, Clinical and Systems Implementation Associate at the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. The reach of the projects ranges from local to regional to provincial to regional. The goals is to increase the degree of sustainable implementation of specific recommendations from the CPG and to build capacity to implement other recommendations.

Patient and Family materials will soon be released to support Post-Concussion Care Standards and clinicians across the province are being surveyed to identify their needs with regards to concussion care education. ONF and its collaborators have been invited to present their implementation work at several conferences and symposiums this year.

New clinical practice guideline published for acute SCI

Clinical practice in the management of those with acute spinal cord injury has evolved significantly over the past several decades and a recently completed literature review has led to the development and publication of “A Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Acute Spinal Cord Injury: Introduction, Rationale, and Scope” in the Global Spine Journal. Dr. Michael Fehlings is the lead author.

The evidence reviewed in the development of the Guideline addresses the lack of consensus on several approaches to acute management of those with SCI. “The ultimate goal of these guidelines is to improve outcomes and reduce morbidity in patients with SCI by promoting standardization of care and encouraging clinicians to make evidence-informed decisions,” say the authors.

Feedback Sought on potential ECHO Ontario Project Concussion Program

The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) Ontario Project  is considering the addition of a concussion program and requires input from clinicians. Project ECHO Ontario links expert specialist teams through an academic hub – in this case the University Health Network – with healthcare clinicians in local communities. Should approval for the site be received from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, ONF and several of its partners will be involved in curriculum development and building a network of “experts”.

ECHO, first established in the US, offers a successful, practical case-based learning model available to any primary care or allied healthcare practitioner who has access to the internet. ECHO program content is focused on often difficult-to-treat conditions regularly dealt with by these practitioners such as Chronic Pain and Opioids, Mental Health and Addictions, Care of the Elderly and Epilepsy. The areas of the ECHO curriculum are generated first and foremost by the clinician users of the ECHO and filled in by “experts” using clinical research and case examples.

The first step, conducting a needs assessment survey for primary care and allied healthcare practitioners is underway. Given that concussion management involves many different healthcare professionals those involved in post-concussion care are encouraged to complete the survey as soon as possible.

BC-based professor recognizes ONF support in early years of SCI research and advocacy

Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis started her career working with the spinal cord injury community in Ontario She recently shared with “Business in Vancouver” (BIV) 2017 Life Sciences" magazine that the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, and especially Dr. Keith Hayes (now ONF Lead Spinal Cord Injury Research and Chair, Spinal Cord Injury Committee), positively influenced her career. As a result of a suggestion by Dr. Hayes, she successfully applied for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant in 2007. As a result, she was able to found SCI Action Canada, a national alliance to advance physical activity participation for those with SCI. “This direction would never have happened for me (if he hadn’t) encouraged me to write the grant that got SCI Canada on the map,” she was quoted as saying in BIV.

Dr. Martin Ginis is now a professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in the faculty of Health and Social Development.