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HRC funding to aid Māori and CDHB relationship building: early vocational rehabilitation hope for stroke survivors

Friday 16 July 2021 11:24am

Jenninfer DunnOtago researcher Dr Jennifer Dunn has won Health Research Council support for her vision of an early intervention vocational rehabilitation (EIVR) model for stroke survivors.

“Having this Research Activation Grant is a wonderful vote of confidence”, says Dr Dunn, “and it comes with some much needed funding support”.

The grant enables preparatory work to refine methods, build relationships and engage with stakeholders ahead of a planned larger study that will trial and evaluate an EIVR model of therapy. Dr Dunn and her Otago colleagues Associate Professor Deborah Snell, Dr Jo Nunnerley and Dr Rachelle Martin have developed the model based on existing services offered to people with spinal cord injuries.

Stroke is a growing concern and an area of inequity in New Zealand. The rates of stroke are increasing, but the incidence rates have declined in New Zealand Europeans by 19% while they have increased by 21% in Pacific people and 16% in Māori.

At the same time the numbers of people wanting to return to work and productivity after stroke has increased. We know that a return to work for people with a new health condition or disability is linked to increased wellbeing, improved quality of life, and better physical and mental health outcomes.

Following the securing of this activation grant funding and a successful phase one of the research, a follow-on study is planned by Dr Dunn and her colleagues where they will pilot a 24-month EIVR programme within Stroke Services in Canterbury.

Dr Dunn is partnered by the Burwood Academy Trust in this research.

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