Towards improving autonomic and cardiovascular care for people with SCI in British Columbia

Researcher(s): Dr. Christopher West

In British Columbia, large rehabilitation centres that provide ongoing care for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) are in Vancouver. However, many individuals with SCI live outside of Metro Vancouver. Since local factors are known to play a role in care delivery it is anticipated that individuals with SCI living in the Interior of BC may face unique challenges for managing their health.

Following SCI there are several autonomic disturbances that occur including but not limited to, autonomic dysreflexia, temperature dysregulation, orthostatic hypotension, neurogenic bladder/bowel, and sexual dysfunction. Furthermore, there are several secondary health conditions occurring in individuals with SCI. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, secondary health conditions can range from fatigue and pain to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is not surprising, therefore, that the ongoing care for individuals living with SCI must take into consideration the management of secondary health and autonomic complications.

Why should you participate in this study?

Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Chris West, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, clinicians, graduate students, and medical students are seeking insight into the healthcare experiences of individuals living with SCI in British Columbia. The results of this study will provide insight as to how place of residence (i.e., Lower Mainland vs. rural/remote B.C.) impacts the challenges faced by individuals with SCI in British Columbia.  The long-term vision is to work with the SCI community to develop solutions to improve outcomes for patients with SCI.

Researchers in Dr. Chris West’s lab want to:

  • Understand where the current gaps are in relation to care for autonomic disturbances and offsetting secondary health conditions via a short survey of all people living with SCI within British Columbia.
  • Determine where SCI residents are receiving their care, whether it is locally or in Metro Vancouver.

You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

  • Have a chronic SCI (>1 year) and are 18+ years old
  • Live in British Columbia

Time commitment

Currently, the project is recruiting individuals with SCI who live within British Columbia to complete a 15-minute electronic survey to share their experiences. All information will be kept completely confidential.

For more information or to sign up to participate, please contact the study coordinator, Lisa Renaud, by email or phone (250) 807-8891.