BehaviourWorks Australia collaborated with Austin Health, AQA, and Transport Accident Commission (TAC), to engage people living with spinal cord injury in making better decisions about their health and lifestyles. This project specifically engaged young men under 35 years of age - a cohort of people who continue to be overrepresented in acute spinal cord injury presentations.
Healthcare practitioners and social care systems must think differently about how they support people living with spinal-cord injury to continue to lead their best lives. Young men under 35 years of age face unique challenges that make it more difficult for them to seek and engage in help, with many of these challenges revolving around social expectations of masculinity, self-identity, and stigma.
The basis of this project was to inject new ways of thinking into how to enable males under 35 with a spinal cord injury to continue to ‘lead their best life’ and thrive in the modern era. Our aim was to consider the life journey and think about how we can adapt current practices, introduce new interventions that engage and equip young men to thrive, and support the healthcare system to shift from the traditional medical model to a more social model of care.
According to Professor Andrew Nunn, Director of the Victorian Spinal Cord Service at Austin Health, approximately 100 people will sustain a spinal cord injury in Victoria per year, with approximately 35% of them being young males.
Young men under 35 years of age continue to be overrepresented in acute spinal care injury presentations. A spinal cord injury is a catastrophic, unexpected, life-changing condition that not only affects an injured person physically, but also all aspects of their life.
Though young men under 35 tend to be an overrepresented group who sustain traumatic spinal cord injuries, our health and social care systems continue to struggle to effectively engage these young men to look after their health, wellbeing and re-establish their daily routines.
In 2020, BehaviourWorks Australia collaborated with Austin Health, AQA, and TAC to conduct exploratory research on why and how young men, in general, engage in help-seeking behaviours. From there, we were able to conduct more focused research and deep dive into the issue our health and social care systems face today: How to engage young men living with a spinal cord injury to look after their health and wellbeing to lead their best lives.
This project had three main goals to be completed over three phases of work:
We have completed the trials for the 3 interventions developed in this project and hope to continue to test these interventions in new settings for further scaling and dissemination.
Contact us to collaborate on the next phase of this project.
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