Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative Alberta SCI Initiative Alberta spinal cord injury initiative

Going Forward Together
This website is all about the Alberta Spinal Cord Injury Initiative, started in 2007 with a 5-year, $12 million contribution from the Government of Alberta. It was started in honour of the 20th Anniversary of Rick Hansen's epic Man in Motion World Tour (1985-87) and is building a legacy of collaboration, innovation and dedication to pursuing solutions that make a real difference in the lives of Albertans with SCI and their families.

We're building a 'solutions movement' - join in and help decide what's next!

Monday, August 1, 2011

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This blog site has been retired.  Information regarding the Alberta Spinal Cord Injury Initiative can be accessed on the website of the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) at

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Logo!

The Alberta SCI Initiative now has its own distinctive logo.  The design reflects our consumer-centred, solutions-driven approach.  "Moving Forward Together" is the slogan chosen by initial partners who collaborated in preparing a proposal to the Government of Alberta for support in providing leadership and innovation in the area of spinal cord injury treatment and quality of life.  The colours coordinate with those of the Rick Hansen Foundation, Rick Hansen Institute, The Alberta Paraplegic Foundation and the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta), reflecting our common purpose.  The image of a person in a wheelchair reflects our dedication to consumer driven results and a recognition of the unique needs of each individual affected by SCI.  The variation in text size gives an impression of forward movement, driven by the needs of people with SCI.  Our logo was created by a designer through which provides quality design work at reasonable prices by designers from around the globe. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On a Roll ... The Alberta SCI Action Strategy Maintains its Momentum with Eight Action Plans

It’s been a whirlwind year for the Alberta Spinal Cord Injury Strategy and, like a whirlwind, we’ve been picking up momentum and sweeping people and ideas into the action as we move along.  The Strategy began in 2009 with a plan to bring “stakeholders” – people living with SCI and those who provide them with care and services – from around Alberta together to create a plan to address some of the serious issues that Albertans with SCI face.  Our approach involved a lot of consultation and collaboration:  first to identify the constellation of problems that limit quality of life for people with SCI, next to narrow our focus to a list of three priority issues, third to develop clear-cut strategies to attack those problems, and fourth to implement those strategies.  Today, we are at stage four – implementation – and I’d like to share with you the plans we have for eight exciting projects that will not only bring some immediate improvements to people’s lives, but build the capacity of individuals and agencies to meet their own needs and those of their clients into the future.

The eight projects, or “Action Plans,” address three areas that our stakeholders said were top priority and the starting place for action:  affordable accessible housing, home care / attendant care, and adaptive equipment and devices.  Three Task Teams consisting of about 10 people each were struck to deliberate on these topics and develop strategies that would add capacity to the SCI community and improve quality of life for people with SCI.  Their ideas were reviewed and approved for funding by the SCI Solutions Alliance in October, 2010.   In total, $300,000 in Alliance funding, plus extensive volunteer hours by committee members, and matching donations from other sources will be used to implement the following Action Plans.

Click on the picture above to download a copy of On a Roll.

Community Resource Guide

Knowledge is power, and one of our most important projects is to create a searchable website of local, provincial, national, and international resources to help people increase their knowledge of important information and services available in the areas of housing, home care/attendant care, and adaptive equipment and devices.  We’re designing it to be interactive so that our users can contribute information and comments based on their own experiences.  It will be updated annually.  Our plan is to create a site that meets the needs of consumers, draws a large number of users and eventually attracts the dollars needed to expand it to include other topic areas.

Community Living Attendant Training Program

Many attendant care training programs have been eliminated from Alberta colleges; the programs that remain are expensive, require a lengthy time commitment, and present language barriers for new Canadians, resulting in a shortage of trained care attendants.  In addition, existing training programs are based on institutional care models whereby attendants are accountable to institutional or commercial employers, rather than to the clients they serve.  The Alberta curriculum will be developed, designed and is delivered with the direct involvement of people with disabilities. It will focus on teaching students to be responsive to consumer choice and control over the daily decisions that impact their lives.   Training will be delivered over a much shorter period of time and at a lower cost than existing home care aide programs while still ensuring that graduates have the skills to attend to their clients' needs safely and appropriately. 
Evaluation of Supportive Housing Models

In communities across Alberta, the need for a range of accessible housing with supports provided is great and growing.  This project will provide communities with information and next steps to help initiate local supportive housing projects.  First we will be examining existing models in Alberta and elsewhere to identify effective and innovative models that could be replicated.  Then we will be sharing that information with communities, along with a template for a business case and guidelines on how to take the business case to the next level.  The goal is to build capacity for future growth in supportive housing that meets the unique needs of people with SCI and similar physical disabilities so that they can continue to live in the community of their choice.

Residential Accessibility Assessment Tool

There is a confusing array of information out there about accessibility and what constitutes an accessible home.  The confusion creates problems for people needing to find a place to live that meets their specific level of ability.  This project will look at the variety of guidelines, tools and processes that are currently being used to assess and describe the accessibility of homes and create a single, standard guideline that distinguishes between different levels of accessibility.  The assessment tool and process we create will be promoted widely to encourage standardization.  Our long-term hope is that with wide use of a standard tool to conduct audits, a provincial registry could be started to provide easier access to information on accessible homes available for people with SCI and other disabilities.  The tool would also be helpful to people wanting to design or renovate their own home to certain specifications.

Builders' Award

Builders and other people working in the building industry are critical partners in the creation of more accessible and affordable housing.  With a Builders Award we aim to recognize builders, designers and contractors who have shown excellence in accessible home design.  To be successful we not only need to create the award, but market the idea of accessible design.  This project will do both those things, with the goal of creating awareness, relationships, momentum, commitment and overall raising the profile and desirability among builders – and buyers – of accessible design.

Research and Funding for Pressure Relief and Pressure Reduction Devices

Pressure sores are costly and personally devastating problems.  This project will look at the best practices in pressure sore prevention and treatment, and share that information widely with consumers and care providers.  It is also our hope to provide funding through the Solutions Fund specifically for pressure relief and reduction devices.  In this way we address the immediate needs of consumers while potentially encouraging clinicians, service providers and equipment funders to review the effectiveness of their policies and practices in the area of pressure sore prevention and treatment.

Improved Trials for Computer Equipment

Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and with it, the funding priorities of various programs designed to improve access to computer equipment.  More than ever, funders and consumers need to see and handle the equipment to understand it’s benefits to people with different levels of ability.  Consumers also need time to trial equipment to see what will really work best for them.  This project will provide equipment for people to trial so that they can then go forward confidently with proposals to various funders to obtain the equipment they need to get on with their lives – whether it be plans to go back to school, get a job, or just become more independent and connected to the outside world.

Best Practices Research into Catheter Use

Single use or multi-use catheters – which is best and how do you decide?  This project will look at best practices research and sort through the information to develop a “decision tree” that care providers, consumers and other professionals can refer to in order to determine which type of catheterization is best.  The decision-tree will take into account a person’s lifestyle as well as their health when making recommendations regarding “cathing.”

All eight of these Action Plans are in the beginning stages of implementation and are all scheduled to be completed by March 2012.  And so the whirlwind continues!

On behalf of the Alberta SCI Solutions Alliance, I’d like to thank the dozens of people who have volunteered their time so far to developing the Strategy and the Action Plans and who are now working to implement them.  Their on-going commitment not only help keep us “Rolling” but keeps us “On the Right Track”. 

Funding Available for Pressure Relieving Devices

The Alberta SCI Pressure Relief Device Fund PDF Print E-mail
The Alberta SCI Pressure Relief Device Fund was created to improve the immediate health status and quality of life of Albertans with spinal cord injuries (SCI) dealing with pressure sores by providing funding to purchase appropriate pressure reduction and prevention devices.  The Alberta SCI Pressure Relief Device Fund is available in the form of grants up to $5,000 for individuals with SCI living in the Province of Alberta.
The Alberta SCI Pressure Relief Device Fund is one step in the creation and implementation of the Alberta SCI Action Strategy to enhance the wellbeing of Albertans with SCI by identifying priorities of critical importance, engaging the entire SCI community in the process of addressing identified priorities and informing decision making processes related to present and future investments in SCI related initiatives.
Your application can be mailed, dropped off, couriered, faxed or e-mailed to:
Solutions Coordinator
The Alberta Paraplegic Foundation
305 Hys Centre, 11010 101 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5H 4B9
Phone:  (780) 424-6312, ext 2227
Fax:  (780) 424-6313
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 @ 4:00p.m. MST

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Requests for Proposals - Affordable Accessible Housing

Proposals are now being accepted for projects in the area of affordable accessible housing for people with SCI and similar physical disabilities.  The closing date for applications is November 19, 2010.  RFPs are available through the following links, or by contacting Heather Lissel at

RFP Builders' Award
RFP Evaluation of Supportive Housing Models
RFP Residential Assessment Tool

Community Consultation Sessions now underway

Consumer involvement is an important principle underlying our work on the Alberta SCI Action Strategy.  We believe that all consumers are unique and have the right and the responsibility to be involved in decisions that could affect their lives.  Over the next two weeks we will be conducting community consultation sessions with consumers to get their input into the eight SCI Strategy Action Plans.  If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, please contact Heather Lissel at 780-467-4418 or

If you've missed the session in your community, or are unable to attend, you can still have a say by letting us know what your experiences have been in the areas of housing, home care/attendant care, and adaptive equipment/devices and letting us know what advice you would have to help us make sure the projects we are undertaking in those areas meet your needs.

A feedback form, along with a brief description of the projects we are undertaking is available by contacting Heather at the number above.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Funding is approved and we are On a Roll!

We are pleased to announce that The Alberta Paraplegic Foundation has approved the allocation of $300,000 in Solutions funding to implement eight projects designed to improve quality of life for Albertans with spinal cord injury and similar disabilities.  We would like to thank the more than 30 volunteer Task Team members and their Facilitators for their dedication and hard work to bring this to fruition.  Many of these same individuals have committed to continue working with us as we implement the Action Plans.

The Action Plans address priority issues in the areas of Affordable Accessible Housing, Home Care/Attendant Care, and Adaptive Equipment/Devices.  A list of the Action Plans follows. 
  • An easily searchable, comprehensive internet guide with information on adaptive equipment, housing and home care/attendant care.
  • Improved consumer access to trials for computer software and hardware as well as environmental devices.
  • Information on pressure-reducing technologies and grant funds available to purchase pressure-reducing equipment and devices.
  • Information on best practices in catheter use provided to consumers, caregivers and other service providers in an easy to follow format
  • A pilot of the PACE (personal attendant community education) program developed by the Independent Living Resource Centre in Winnipeg Manitoba.  PACE is a 5-week consumer-focused training program for individuals wanting to become paid caregivers.
  • An evaluation of supportive housing models with a view to supporting communities' ability to promote supportive housing development locally.
  • The development of a province-wide, standard tool to assess home accessibility and making that information available on the web.
  • A provincial award to recognize excellence in accessible home design and construction.
Detailed information on each of these projects will be posted shortly or contact Heather Lissel at or 424-6312.