Message from the CEO
At the core of the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) is our commitment to make meaningful impact in the spinal cord, brain injury and fall prevention community by supporting knowledge generation that when translated into sustained practices lead to better health outcomes. Over the last year of our three-year funding cycle we have made great achievements by uniting researchers, clinicians, and the community together to develop products that make direct and lasting impacts across our networks.
Governed by our research to practice model, the Foundation plays a vital role in mobilizing and implementing knowledge to drive impact and create efficiencies in Ontario’s healthcare system. Through this model ONF has been able to support better patient outcomes for people with neurotrauma injuries and improve practices to reduce these injuries from occurring in the first place. In November of last year, our Program Directors attended the Global Implementation Conference in Glasgow, UK and presented ONF’s journey from traditional funder to an impact-driven funding model that has positioned ONF to be a provincial leader in implementation strategy within the neurotrauma and fall prevention community.
The 2019/20 fiscal year has been one of great opportunity and significant progress as we continue to advance knowledge generation, knowledge mobilization and implementation efforts.
Our commitment to developing current tools and resources has been evident in our efforts to migrate the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) clinical practice guidelines into an evolving living guideline format. The first of its kind, Living Guideline for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion was released in September 2019 and has seen great uptake across the province. In line with this goal the ABI Program has partnered with Quebec’s Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) to migrate the guideline for moderate to severe traumatic brain injury to a similar living approach. To support its clinical tools, ONF has also released patient resources to support people managing brain injury with evidence-based information to guide their care and management. The positive use and reception of our knowledge products has been quantified in our three-year summative evaluations which are informed by stakeholders and knowledge product users. In our early engagement, users surveyed showed great enthusiasm for products and implementation strategy. We look forward to releasing the full evaluative reports that will measure the impact of the Foundation and its work.
Over the past year, the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) network has united on a number of fronts to drive improved care strategies for people with SCI. The SCI Alliance has sustained momentum to inform policy and bring about system change based on the collective voice of researchers, clinicians, policy makers, stakeholders and people with spinal cord injury. Understanding that good research results in good policy change, ONF continues to foster new researchers through post-doctoral fellowships awards. Late in the fiscal year, ONF supported the Physical Disability Primary Care Summit in Waterloo to continue building a network purposed to advance primary care for those with physical disabilities. Through ongoing research, we hope to advance knowledge around primary care, women’s health and health economics to improve access and quality of care.
As we strive to support clinicians in their daily practice, we recognize that falls are still a leading cause of neurotrauma injuries; so as we create tools to support care we also strive to strengthen our prevention strategy to reduce the risk of these injuries from occurring. The Ontario Fall Prevention Collaborative continues to work closely with policy makers to better understand the tools available to support fall prevention among older adults. Purposed to identify gaps, the Collaborative is comprised of multi-disciplinary professionals tasked to bring effective practice to scale by first identifying the gaps within fall prevention strategy and is poised to provide expertise and solutions to guide a coordinated and effective approach to fall prevention among older adults. Their work has led to the development of two environmental scans that identify current knowledge about fall prevention screening and assessment tools and falls indicators. Engaging the communities of practice focused on both older adult and childhood falls is key to our mission to equip these networks with the tools and resources to support effective fall prevention strategy.
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware that strategies must be repositioned to address the changing needs of our community; however we will continue to advance research, knowledge mobilization and best- practice implementation in alignment with the needs of our healthcare system. The community has always been at the helm of our work at ONF; with the guide of our Board of Directors, commitment from our staff, collaboration with our partners and support from the province we will continue to be a catalyst for change and foster meaningful impact to build a stronger system for the neurotrauma community in Ontario.
Looking onward to the future we are encouraged by the progress we have made; and driven to continue to fill the gaps in neurotrauma care and fall prevention strategy in the province of Ontario.
CEO, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
Message from the Chair
As we prepare to close the fiscal year, we are marked by the distinct challenge of navigating COVID-19. While many of our approaches have shifted, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) and its Board of Directors has remained committed to developing prevention strategies and supporting the needs of people with spinal cord and brain injury within the Ontario Health system.
I have supported the Board as Interim Chair for the past two years and have witnessed firsthand how the Foundation has continued to position itself as a leader in neurotrauma and prevention research, knowledge mobilization and best-practice implementation. Not only has the Foundation fostered strategic partnerships to further the work in these key areas of practice; ONF has also collaborated with community partners to form Neurotrauma Care Pathways to better support the community. This framework that will be carried out in future operating plans, supports integrated, more efficient, and equitable co-ordination of care for people living with spinal cord and brain injury.
ONF has had an impactful year with the release and dissemination of pivotal materials across its three programs. The Foundation advanced its involvement in fall prevention among children and brain injury care with continued engagement on the Loop Junior community of practice digital platform and the release of the Living Guideline for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion.
In the first phase of its work, the Fall Prevention Collaborative of Ontario has been actively involved in assessing and surveying fall prevention screening and assessment tools as well as indicators measuring falls among older adults. The next steps will involve developing consensus and capacity among fall prevention practitioners on a list of priority indicators measuring falls among older adults in Ontario and better understand the use of fall prevention screening and assessment tools by sector, including context, gaps, duplication and implementation challenges. The ultimate system-based outcome is to prevent falls and promote quality of care for older adults in Ontario and improve overall healthcare outcomes.
ONF continues to support the spinal cord injury community by fostering networks like the Ontario SCI Implementation and Evaluation Quality Care Consortium (SCI IEQCC). Perhaps one of ONF’s greatest attributes is its commitment to unifying groups and bridging connections within the neurotrauma network to identify synergies; such is the purpose of the SCI IEQCC which aims to bring together stakeholders in applying implementation science principle and evaluative expertise to guide the improvement in SCI healthcare and rehabilitation. The work that comes out of the Consortium will eventually inform a provincial SCI report card and benchmarks that will identify systemic barriers.
The impact of the Foundation and its resources will be further outlined in an upcoming summative evaluation report, that will look at feedback from stakeholders and knowledge products users to better understand the impact.
It is important to note that while ONF has been a leader in driving prevention and neurotrauma research, knowledge mobilization and implementation to scale across Ontario; they have not done so alone. The work of the Foundation is accomplished with the support and collaboration of a robust network of researchers, clinicians, policy advisors, community advocates and, people with lived experience – with special thanks to provincial partners, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, the Ontario Brain Injury Association and national allies at Praxis (formerly the Rick Hansen Institute) whose collaboration greatly impact the work.
The Foundation would not be able to reach these great achievements without the commitment of its CEO and staff whose efforts ensure the mission and vision of ONF advances in a meaningful way. We also acknowledge the Board of Directors for their well-advised governance and sacrificial commitment to help the Foundation achieve its goals.
Finally, we are grateful for the resources provided by the provincial government that allow this important work to continue and thereby impact the lives of Ontarians. We celebrate another great year of achievements and look forward to future accomplishments as ONF continues to be a catalyst for change across the healthcare continuum in the prevention, spinal cord, and brain injury community in Ontario.
Lloyd M. Mogul
Interim Chair and Treasurer