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Program of Research
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At the present time, NepalAbility is developing a research plan that is integrated into our education program. Specific research questions are outlined below. Wherever the term Nepal is used, this should be interpreted to reflect the targeted population of patients hospitalized at either the Tansen Mission Hospital or the Green Pastures Rehabilitation Centre in Pokhara, as well as their caregivers, health care providers and communities.

The primary methods in this resarch involve clinical assessments and interviews with patients and their caregivers, in the two hospital facilities and upon return to their communities and home.

A technique called Photovoice will also be used. Photovoice involves using photography in a “backwards” way (i.e. with the subjects as photographers) as a powerful tool to empower a community to act and thus support sustainability of interventions. In this project, Nepali participants (patients, families, health care workers) will use digital cameras to capture relevant images to represent their perspectives on the research questions and to prepare their own pictographic resources to use as tools in health support.

Research Questions:

1) How common are the following health complications in Nepal:

a) Pressure sores in patients with significant physical mobility problems following spinal cord or other neurological injury?
b) Aspiration pneumonia secondary to swallowing problems in patients with neurological injury?

2) Do the healthcare staff in Nepal have adequate knowledge and skills to provide care that will optimally prevent pressure sores and aspiration pneumonia in patients recovering from spinal cord or neurological injury?

3) Can a brief (1 week) intervention of interprofessional education focusing on the knowledge, skills and roles of healthcare team members involved in the care of patients with spinal cord or neurological injury lead to improved knowledge and skills regarding the prevention and management of pressure sores and aspiration pneumonia in patients recovering from spinal cord or neurological injury?

4) How do caregiver knowledge, ethno-cultural beliefs and lifestyle factors contribute to the prevention, management or occurrence of pressure sores and aspiration pneumonia in patients recovering from spinal cord or neurological injury in Nepal?

5) Are there any physical factors (e.g. methods of transportation) that contribute directly to heightened risk of a patient developing pressure sores or aspiration pneumonia following spinal cord or neurological injury in Nepal, which can be modified to reduce the likelihood of these complications occurring?

6) What is the impact and usefulness of the photovoice technique in the engagement of patients, families and health care workers in rehabilitation at hospitals and at home in the community?

 

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