SCI Best Practice Implementation

In order to ensure that research findings are moved into practice and policy, ONF has identified several areas of focus for best practice implementation. In the area of SCI, ONF is supporting the activity of the Spinal Cord Injury Knowledge Mobilization Network (SCI KMN), involved in the implementation of best practices that improve secondary complications, as well as e-learning modules to support primary care.

Spinal Cord Injury Knowledge Mobilization Network (SCI KMN)

Secondary complications such as pressure ulcers, pain and poor bladder management negatively impact the quality of life for a person living with SCI.

A partnership with the Rick Hansen Institute and the Alberta Paraplegic Foundation, SCI KMN works to promote the implementation and sustained use of best practices in SCI care. The goal? To use evidence-based methods to improve outcomes in secondary complications, such as pressure ulcers, pain management and bladder management. By implementing best practices in these areas, ONF hopes to improve quality of life for people with SCI.

The SCI KMN has developed its organizational infrastructure, a collaboration platform and communication plan to promote effective network-wide communication efforts. These efforts have increased communication between the six participating rehabilitation sites in the collaboration resulting in more effective knowledge sharing.

In October 2016 SCI KNM released Informing Implementation: A practical guide to implementing new practice as informed by the experiences of the SCI KMN. This guide leads users through the five stages of the SCI KMN Implementation Process. For each stage there are a set of activities and tools that may be used to promote effective implementation. Following a systematic and rigorous process allows users to make the process more effective and optimize outcomes.

ONF supports the SCI KMN website.  The site may be accessed at www.scikmn.com.


Development of e-Learning modules for Family Physicians

Currently, there are many individuals with SCI who do not have a family physician and some who have one, but are not satisfied with the services they receive. On the other hand, many family physicians either have never seen an SCI patient or have few in their routine practice. This poses challenges for the physicians.

The Caring for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury is an e-learning resource, designed by ONF and the University of Ottawa, specifically for family physicians who are presently caring for, or are considering providing care for, persons with SCI in their practice.

The e-learning modules include information about best practices on the top five areas of concern for the SCI population. The information helps guide understanding, diagnosis, management and recommendations, as well as follow-up care. The areas of concern are:

  • Autonomic Dysreflexia (related to the nervous system)
  • Neurogenic Bladder (bladder dysfunction)
  • Neurogenic Bowel (bowel dysfunction)
  • Respiratory Complications
  • Pressure Ulcers

In addition, health promotion and maintenance recommendations specific to people with spinal cord injury are provided to support preventative care.

Click here to access the e-learning resource, Caring for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury.


In November 2016, an ONF-funded summit will explore SCI from the perspective of primary care physicians and what they need to support people with SCI to effectively manage their ongoing health care issues, allowing them to live successfully and fully in their communities. An invitation-only event, this is the first primary care summit to focus on SCI, outcomes and learnings from the summit will be broadly shared.

To learn more about ONF's approach to Best Practice Implementation, click here.