BAIL's TALES : JULY

Kia ora and welcome to this month’s BAIL’s Tales, the chronicles of the Burwood Academy of Independent Living based on the Burwood Hospital campus.

Most of our readers will be well aware that the demolition of the Allan Bean Centre had been determined and it was just a matter of time before it was removed. That time is now upon us and on the 3rd of June a farewell ceremony held outside the library windows under the beautiful Elm Tree was attended by 80 friends of the building. Patients, staff, clinicians, friends, dignitaries and funders witnessed a final farewell that culminated in them all throwing paint balloons at the walls. The playful conclusion seemed rather fitting with the guests creating a kaleidoscope image together. The resulting colorful, vibrant, unpredictable image signified the many new stories of hope that had been created in and around the Allan Bean Centre.

The Burwood Academy Consultation Committee (BACC)
The BACC is an initiative of the Burwood Academy of Independent Living and provides a valuable consultation service for research proposals in the field of disability and rehabilitation. The BACC has five committee members who all have personal experience of impairment, such as spinal cord injury and brain injury.

To date the committee has consulted on eight proposals, with three currently under review and have published its work in an international peer reviewed journal and presented at national and international conferences. Recent proposals consulted on have been very interesting, and covered a range of topics, for example virtual reality rehabilitation, value in the workplace, being prepared for natural disasters, and assistive technology for people with stroke and ankle impairments. Proposals have been received from universities all over New Zealand, which is another very encouraging sign.

This progress is very positive considering the committee is a volunteer service and that researchers are not obliged to use this resource. This tells us that everyone is supporting the service with a great deal of good faith and has a genuine desire for people living with impairments to have a greater stake in the research process. For more information please visit: http://burwood.org.nz/node/27

WHAT’S COMING UP?
BAIL Research Peer Group meeting 30thJuly

The next Research Peer Group meeting is Thursday 30th July 11.45-1pm in the Chapel.
We are calling this our Earthquake Special and have John Bourke and Jason Nicholls presenting their current studies around EQ preparedness and emergency response for disabled people. The funders of this important work have been invited so we anticipate a great cross section of interested parties.

Jason Nicholls. The Ready to Roll survey: NZ wheelchair users preparedness for emergencies
The nationwide Ready to Roll study was inspired by the experiences of disabled people in the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-2011 which highlighted a range of concerns about the preparedness of individuals and organisations to respond to the needs of people with disabilities.
The study investigated the level of, and barriers to, emergency preparedness amongst wheelchair users in New Zealand. In this presentation Jason Nicholls will present the findings of the study which revealed a concerning disparity of preparedness amongst participants compared to that reported by the general NZ population. A range of barriers to personal preparedness were identified by participants. One of these barriers, the requirement of help from another person to prepare for emergencies, has received very little attention in the international literature. In addition, the Ready to Roll survey has gained some valuable insights from NZ wheelchair users about their opinions regarding a potential vulnerable persons register for use in emergencies. The findings of the study will be of interest to people with disabilities, the organisations that represent them and emergency planning and response personnel.

John Bourke. Wheelchair users’ experience of community inclusion following the Canterbury earthquakes: a thematic analysis.
John Bourke will present the results of the first stage of his PhD that explored what one section of the disability community, people who use wheelchairs, perceived to be the individual and social determinants of (non) inclusion and (non) participation in the community in the three years following the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes. Thirteen adult wheelchair users recruited from the Canterbury region were interviewed and then invited to attend a supplementary focus group (N=5). All data were subjected to thematic analysis. Participants felt the 2010/11 earthquakes had magnified many pre-existing barriers to community inclusion and have also created an exciting opportunity for change. Five themes describe the key ways in which participants’ experienced community inclusion post-earthquakes: 1) earthquakes magnified barriers, 2) community inclusion requires energy, 3) social connections are important, 4) an unprecedented opportunity for change, and 5) is accessibility a public right or private choice? The study findings will inform a quantitative survey to determine how the findings generalise to a larger sample of individuals who use wheelchairs.

This promises to be another great meeting and if you are not on the regular invitation mailing list and would like to come, just let me know (Hans.Wouters@burwood.org.nz).

Hans Wouters – Operations Manager Burwood Academy of Independent Living.