This content originally appeared in the School of Rehabilitation’s research report. This is the second in a two-part series.
The School of Rehabilitation’s programs of research help advance understanding of the influence of development, health, illness and injury on the control, learning, recovery and integration of goal-directed movement in meaningful functional activities across the lifespan.
Learn about some of their researchers’ recent milestones and ongoing work:
Dr. Sandra Fucile: A Novel Tool for the Evaluation of Oral Feeding Skills in Infants
Dr. Sandra Fucile and her Infant Research Team at Kingston Health Sciences Centre developed a nipple monitoring device for the evaluation of oral feeding disorders in infants with complex health conditions. Up to 40 per cent of infants with complex medical conditions may encounter oral feeding disorders during their stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. Oral feeding disorders are prominent concerns among parents and health professionals because they often lead to long-term feeding disorders affecting infants’ growth and development, and they impact families’ quality of life. A quasi-experimental study was undertaken to test the efficacy and safety of the novel nipple monitoring device in 16 infants with complex medical conditions. This study has shown that the nipple-monitoring device is a novel method for accurate assessment and intervention planning of oral feeding skills and will be a significant contribution towards enhancing the care of infants with oral feeding disorders, thereby leading to improved growth, development, and quality of life in Canada’s highest-risk population.
Dr. Setareh Ghahari: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown on Immigrants
This study explored the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns on immigrants’ occupational engagement. Immigrants to Canada were invited to complete an online survey that included questions on the continuation or disruption of their daily occupations. The questions focused on employment, engaging in self-care activities, family-related activities, social life, and health-related activities. Data were collected from 2,473 adults. Immigrants experienced significant disruption and challenges in many areas of daily occupations. Sixty-one per cent of respondents worked for fewer hours during the pandemic. The resulting financial burden forced forty-eight per cent to eat less or miss a meal. Twenty-five per cent of those with school-age children experienced difficulty with online education. Fifty-nine per cent experienced social problems or conflicts in romantic relationships. Currently, five undergraduate students are involved with further data analysis and are preparing manuscripts to be submitted for publication.
Dr. Rosemary Lysaght: Examining the Impact of Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISE)
With funding from Employment and Social Development Canada, and together with Queen’s co-investigators from Smith School of Business and the School of Policy Studies, and from University of Toronto and Glasgow Caledonian University, Drs. Lysaght and Terry Krupa (SRT Professor Emeritus) have been conducting a five-year study of work integration social enterprises (WISE) in Ontario, how they impact the lives of people with mental illnesses and addictions, and how they change communities. This project brings together WISE experts and researchers in a collaborative process that is systematically examining WISE processes and outcomes over time. The research team of interviewers in five cities conducted interviews with WISE workers at seven work integration social enterprises that included health, social, and economic indicators. Quantitative interviews were repeated every 18 months, and a sub-sample of 22 workers was purposively selected for in-depth qualitative interviews. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were also conducted with WISE administrators (n = 7) and front-line supervisors (n = 14). Findings will inform government policy on WISE and will identify support needs within the sector.
Dr. Sunita Mathur: Building Capacity to Detect and Address Sarcopenia
Muscle wasting and muscle weakness that occur with aging and chronic disease, known as sarcopenia, has important health consequences including reduced mobility, higher risk for falls, increased risk of hospitalizations, and even death. Dr. Mathur recently submitted an infrastructure grant application to establish a new research lab, the Muscle Imaging and Performance Lab, in the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy. Dr. Mathur’s research program will focus on two themes: developing new ways to detect sarcopenia and testing novel exercise programs, including telerehabilitation, to mitigate sarcopenia. Dr. Mathur’s research utilizes lab-based measurements including computerized dynamometry and imaging technologies such as ultrasound, and methods that are readily translated to the clinical setting, both in-person and through tele-rehabilitation.
Dr. Mary Ann McColl: Discrepancy Analysis - An Innovative Approach to Promote Inclusion
Disability equity and inclusion in Canada seems on the surface to be relatively enlightened, but when we delve deeper, the story may not be so positive. Every year in every jurisdiction in Canada, there are more human rights claims based on disability than on any other cause. With funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Accessibility Standards Canada, this study developed and pilot-tested an innovative approach to promoting equity, inclusion, and access for disabled persons, called Discrepancy Awareness. This approach uses dramatic simulations of potentially discriminatory situations and invites participants to try on different behaviours in response to these challenges. Working with partners at The University of British Columbia and CNIB, the research team engaged the services of playsthatwork inc., a corporate training company that specializes in live simulations. The team ran two workshops — one for employers involving a blind job applicant, and one for taxi and ride-share drivers involving a ride-seeker with a wheelchair. Following the three-hour online workshop, notable changes were detected in implicit attitudes toward disability, particularly in understanding the challenges disabled individuals face in these two situations. Plans are underway to extend the project to two additional situations — one involving the use of service animals and one involving procurement challenges. Although significant progress has been made in Canada towards a sound policy infrastructure for accessibility, it is impossible to legislate attitudes. Creative solutions like this can offer a strategy for promoting constructive attitudes and improving equity and inclusion.