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March 6, 2006

Allison Lapthorne
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 74772
e-mail: allison.lapthorne@lhsc.on.ca

Dahlia Reich
Parkwood Hospital
519-685-4292 ext 44034

Students ‘experience’ traumatic injury

Parkwood Hospital joins IMPACT program

**Media are invited to attend the next IMPACT session at Parkwood

(LONDON, Ontario) – They’ve likely heard about the risks and glimpsed the consequences. But now Grade 11 students in London are learning what it actually feels like to live with a devastating injury caused by impaired driving and other high-risk behaviours.

At Parkwood Hospital, part of St. Joseph’s Health Care, London, students are participating in an interactive program designed to educate them on the realities of rehabilitation for acquired brain injury and spinal cord injury, and life after experiencing such a trauma.

Through simulation, the teens experience what it’s like to have limited movement and vision by donning various gear to perform every day activities. They also learn just how fragile the human brain and spinal cord is and how injury can change lives forever.

The program is called IMPACT (Impaired Minds Produce Actions Causing Trauma). In its 17th year, IMPACT remains the cornerstone of Injury Prevention at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). With about 500 students attending each year, the purpose of the program is to reduce injuries caused by high-risk behaviours, such as alcohol impairment and aggressive driving.

And now, St. Joseph’s has joined the program to further enhance the learning experience for teens by giving them a window into life-with-injury, with an afternoon visit to Parkwood’s Rehabilitation Unit.

“Parkwood is a key component in demonstrating to students that recovery from injury exists on a continuum,” says social worker Adam Gosney of Parkwood’s acquired brain injury rehabilitation program. “One may survive their trauma, but the consequences of their injuries often have a lifelong impact.”

The students spend the morning at LHSC in the Critical Care/Trauma Centre and Emergency Department where they get a close-up perspective on the physical and emotional pain that results from trauma.

"We are really pleased to have Parkwood join with LHSC in the presentation of IMPACT," says Dr. Murray Girotti, Medical Director, Trauma Program, LHSC. "This new program design reflects a lot of hard work and successful collaboration between both hospitals. Together, we provide students with a unique hands-on learning experience, with the shared goal of reducing injury."

Media are invited to attend the next IMPACT session at Parkwood when students from Laurier Secondary School will attend.

When: March 8, 12:15 p.m.
Where: Parkwood Hospital, 801 Commissioners Road East, London.


London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada’s largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites, South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital; two family medical centres; and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). The research arm of LHSC is Lawson Health Research Institute, which is partnered with London’s other teaching hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. LHSC is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number close to 8,000 and together they provide care for more than 600,000 patients each year.

St. Joseph’s Health Care, London is a major patient care, teaching and research centre with a distinguished legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada. St. Joseph’s five key role areas include acute/ambulatory care, rehabilitation, specialized mental health care, long-term care/veterans care/specialized geriatric care and complex care, including palliative care. Facilities and services including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas are part of the St. Joseph’s family. More than 400,000 patients annually receive care from close to 6,000 physicians and staff at St. Joseph’s. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.