Rick Hansen Institute and Accreditation Canada to develop first ever standards for spinal cord injury care and services in Canada

OTTAWA, Jan. 12 /CNW/ - The Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) and Accreditation Canada announced today that they will develop the first ever comprehensive, evidence-based standards for spinal cord injury (SCI) services delivered in Canada. Funded by RHI with the support of Health Canada and additional government partners, the standards will allow clinicians to use best practices across the continuum of care for people with SCI.

"This project has the potential to improve spinal cord injury care and services around the world. It is essential that anyone who sustains a spinal cord injury receives evidence-based care to maximize functionality and to achieve the best outcome possible," said Wendy Nicklin, President and CEO of Accreditation Canada. "Our accreditation program is well respected for being rigorous, adaptable, and focused on ongoing quality improvement. We expect this initiative to generate interest from existing national and international Accreditation Canada clients, as well as from any facility worldwide seeking to provide the best spinal cord injury services possible."

"By 2030, the number of Canadians living with spinal cord injury is expected to climb to 121,000, with almost 6,000 new cases reported annually," said Colleen O'Connell, of the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton, NB and a Principal Investigator for the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, citing recently released research from RHI on the number of SCI cases and associated costs. "Standards will not only improve care for patients by minimizing incidents of paralysis and the occurrence of secondary complications, but also reduce the enormous economic burden of SCI in Canada." RHI research estimated the total lifetime cost per individual at $1.6 million for paraplegia and $3.0 million for individuals with tetraplegia. The estimated 44,000 Canadians now living with the impacts of traumatic SCI translate to an annual cost of $3.6 billion in Canada.

Added Bill Barrable, CEO of the Rick Hansen Institute: "With over 50 years of experience in the accreditation field, Accreditation Canada has built a reputation for the highest standards in health care. The spinal cord injury standards will increase knowledge and application of evidence and best practices leading to improved health care system planning and performance. Accreditation focusing on spinal cord injury will contribute to ensuring that acute and rehabilitation services for spinal cord injury patients in Canada are evaluated and improved upon on an ongoing basis."

Starting this month, Accreditation Canada and RHI will assemble a 12-member national Spinal Cord Injury Advisory Committee representing a cross-section of consumers, clinicians, researchers, and SCI experts. The Committee will guide the development of the standards by providing feedback and direction on pilot testing, surveyor selection, and implementation. It will also review and approve the final standards before their release by Accreditation Canada in 2012. There are more than 30 acute care and rehabilitation centres that deliver spinal cord injury services in Canada that may benefit from this collaboration.

About the Rick Hansen Institute:
The Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization committed to accelerating the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved treatments for people with spinal cord injuries. It does this by leading the collaboration of researchers, health care professionals and service providers across Canada and internationally. RHI works in three core program areas: the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, which captures information and data to identify improved treatments for people with SCI and support multicentre clinical trials; the funding and sponsoring of translational research; and the implementation of best practices. Please visit www.rickhanseninstitute.org for more information.

About Accreditation Canada
Accreditation Canada (www.accreditation.ca) is a not-for-profit, independent organization that provides national and international health services organizations with a rigorous and comprehensive accreditation process. We foster ongoing quality improvement based on evidence-based standards and external peer review. Accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), Accreditation Canada has helped organizations strive for excellence for more than 50 years.

SOURCE Accreditation Canada

For further information:

Dan Maceluch       Liane Craig
Director, Marketing and Communications   Director, Strategic Communications
Rick Hansen Institute      Accreditation Canada
Tel: 604-707-2114      Tel: 613-738-3800 ext. 301
E-mail: dmaceluch@rickhanseninstitute.org   E-mail: liane.craig@accreditation.ca

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