My Story 

Research collaborations that lead to innovations 

When students, researchers, and clinicians work together to develop a solution to a long-lasting safety issue for wheelchair transportation, results lead to a concrete, ready-to-use solution, to the benefit of our clientele. 

Learn about this inspiring innovation that brought together the expertise and knowledge of different stakeholders to create prize-winning educational videos for the benefit of clients and their families.   

Over the year 2020-2021, a group of occupational therapy students from McGill (Julie Girouard, Julia Norton-Gartner, Laura Tinmouth and Jenna Welik) conducted their Master’s research project in collaboration with the Driving evaluation and car adaptation program at the Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay site. They were supervised by McGill professor and CRIR researcher Isabelle Gélinas, as well as Minh-Thy Truong, occupational therapists at the Constance-Lethbridge site.  

For years, the clinical team observed persisting safety issues for people being transported in an adapted vehicle while seated in their wheelchair. The project proposition thus originated from their desire to improve the situation: Can we develop an educational tool for caregivers on proper wheelchair transportation safety principles?  

The group of students selected this project as part of their training for their professional Master’s degree in occupational therapy. They first did a thorough literature review and established the research protocol. The content and formats of the videos were determined using the best evidence on proper wheelchair transportation safety principles, as well as feedback from the clinical team, service users, and adapted vehicle providers. 

The team benefited from the support of clients and their families who agreed to be filmed in the videos. Filming was done at the adapted vehicle provider’s offices.     

The videos show exceptional quality and workmanship. They are regularly used by clinicians of the Driving evaluation and vehicle adaptation for clients receiving a new adapted vehicle. They are also shared beyond our establishment, with adapted vehicle providers as well as occupational therapists across the province. They are available on the Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay website (see here) 

The team received the SPOT recognition for best research project in August 2021 as well as the prize of the best project in occupational therapy from the Canadian OT Foundation.  

Congratulations to the team for this great project that demonstrates how innovation can have a real impact with the involvement, motivation, and collaboration of different stakeholders in the process.