Supporting Research & Learning in Rehabilitation

The Burwood Academy of Independent Living is a dynamic organisation committed to improving the life experience of people recovering from serious injury and illness. Based onsite at Burwood Hospital in Christchurch, the Academy is dedicated to building a vibrant culture of research and learning. We are working to establish strong links to consumer organisations, universities and rehabilitation professionals.


Each person who endures a serious illness or injury followed by a journey of rehabilitation has a compelling story to share. Now, six brave New Zealanders are sharing their accounts of recovery through self-determination and courage in ‘The Art of Recovery: Six Personal Journeys’ edited by Bernadette Cassidy and Carolyn Beaver. Whether recovering from a spinal cord or brain injury, drug/alcohol addiction or congenital condition, each of the six personal accounts is an opportunity to step into the rehabilitation process through the eyes of those who have lived it. Among those whose stories feature is Shane Thrower who survived testicular cancer and a traumatic brain injury; Ken Hird who was paralysed in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, and Roydon Gibbs who’s battled addiction and depression.

10 years in the compilation, ‘The Art of Recovery’ was commissioned by the late Alan Clarke, executive director of the New Zealand Spinal Trust, who sadly passed away hours after writing the introduction for the book in 2007. Alan’s philosophy was that “rehabilitation is about taking charge of ones return to full participation. Rehabilitation can’t be “done to you”. It is not a treatment or a therapy. It is a learning process, educational not medical. One must set one’s own goals and make sure one gets there.” Alan, who suffered a spinal injury when he fell off the roof of his house, was also a keen proponent of Gerben DeJong’s independent living paradigm, which emphasises the need for the consumer to be in control of and responsible for his/her recovery. DeJong, currently a director at the MedStar Centre for Post-acute Innovation and Research in Washington DC, wrote the book’s foreword. He says “the six narratives that comprise this work are indeed about the art of recovery but they are much more. They are also about the art of reinvention — about re-imagining and reinventing one’s life and knowing that one can never go back completely to what once was.”

Co-editor Carolyn Beaver says the book will appeal to people in all forms of recovery and to health professionals with an interest in rehabilitation.

Order HERE (through NZ Spinal Trust) $24.95 plus postage and handling

Order HERE (through Trade Me) $24.95 plus postage and handling



Keep up to date with what's happening at BAIL:

BAIL Newsletter - January 2018

BAIL's Tales August

Kia ora from the BAIL team


BAIL'S Tales July

Kia ora from the BAIL team


BAIL'S Tales June 2017

Kia ora from the BAIL team

BAIL'S Tales May 2017

Kia ora from the BAIL team

BAIL'S Tales April 2017


We are delighted to welcome group of physiotherapy students to the BAIL team for the next six week.

BAIL'S Tales March 2017


Last month BAIL welcomed Associate professor Jean Hay-Smith to present a workshop on The Clinician-Researchers Duel Role.

BAIL's Tales Blog

BAIL's Tales Blog is here! A new site with interesting tales from the Burwood Academy of Independent Living.
In our first blog Zahra Shahtahmasebi blogs about life as a research student with BAIL

BAIL's Tales February 2017

Kia ora and Happy New Year from the BAIL team


Each year the University of Otago runs a summer studentship programme which offers students an opportunity to get ten weeks of real world hands-on research.

This year BAIL sponsored and co-supervised a summer student to evaluate the patients admitted to the transitionz programme at Burwood hospital, and we welcomed Zahra Shahtahmasebi to the BAIL team over the summer.

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