Alberta s Health & Lifestyle Magazine for People with Spinal Cord Injuries & Other Physical Disabilities Winter 2012

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1 Alberta s Health & Lifestyle Magazine for People with Spinal Cord Injuries & Other Physical Disabilities Winter 2012 Publications Mail Agreement #

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3 Winter 2012 Volume 27 Number 1 FEATURE STORY DEPARTMENTS Editor... Betty MacIsaac Layout/Design...Kyle Thompson Spinal Columns is published four times a year by the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta). Advertising rates available upon request. Ideas, submissions, requests, suggestions and letters are always welcome. Address them to: The Editor, Spinal Columns Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) #305, Street Edmonton, Alberta T5H 4B9 (780) Material printed in Spinal Columns may not be reproduced without written permission from the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta). We neither endorse nor guarantee any of the products or services advertised within Spinal Columns. Readers are strongly urged to thoroughly investigate products/companies before purchase. Spinal Columns is available in alternate formats by contacting our office as listed above. Publications Mail Agreement # Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) #305, Street Edmonton, AB T5H 4B9 ISSN Singapore & Kuala Lumpur by Electric Wheelchair Dan Palamarek s adventures abroad continue. FEATURE STORY 15 Accessibility & Code Compliance Ron Wickman explains why accessibility goes beyond minimum code compliance. 4 Editorial The Alberta SCI Initiative 5 Letters to the Editor 6 In the News 8 Meet the Staff 9 CPA (Alberta) Advocacy Innovations 10 Surfing for Solutions 12 New Products for You Recognition 14 Passing on the Torch Opinion 19 From My Perspective Sports 22 Snow Mountain Prince 23 Calgary s SCI Fitness Centre 24 Sledge Hockey Health 25 Top Five Supplements 26 Mental Health & SCI 27 Healthcare Evolving, Part 2 Community 28 From Chairs to Change 29 Election Time 30 Shell Marks IDPD 31 Change Needs Leaders Regional News 32 What s New in Alberta Aboriginal 37 Promoting First Nations Culture In Our Library 39 Cooking with Cory Spinal Columns 3

4 e ditorial We are rapidly moving towards completion of the Alberta Spinal Cord Injury Initiative (AB SCI Initiative), the collective name for the extensive collaborations and projects as a result of the Rick Hansen 20th Anniversary Proposal submitted to the Government of Alberta in This proposal was informed by consultation with the research and clinical care community, wheelchair sport and recreation groups, CPA (Alberta) staff and Board of Directors, The Alberta Paraplegic Foundation and individuals and their family members personally impacted. In reflection of the last five years, I would like to acknowledge the exceptional cooperative effort that took place in the spirit of impacting quality of life of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and other physical disabilities. I would like to highlight some examples of this impact. Translational research a number of projects have been funded which will impact acute care and rehabilitation treatment in the future. Some of these research projects involve the study of best practices across four provinces: BC, AB, ON and QC. For a more complete description of research projects, visit our website in July to view the 2011/12 Annual Report for the AB SCI Initiative. Solutions that work a major focus of the Initiative was to implement Solutions identified by the SCI Alliance, a volunteer committee made up of committed Albertans from across the field of SCI, including a number of persons who live with disability resulting from SCI. Support to the Alliance, the many volunteer task teams, implementation of solutions, collection of outcome data, and financial tracking was managed by CPA (Alberta) as part of the role of Secretariat to the five year initiative. Solutions included: Granting program 298 grants to meet priority needs (ie. renovation for accessibility, transportation, continuing education, technological supports, fitness/wellness). 90 grants to organizations to deliver enhanced or new programs for persons with SCI and other physical disabilities. Provincial strategies were developed and implemented related to active living, housing, attendant care, and adaptive technology. New resource materials including online resource guide, online accessible housing registry and accessibility assessment tool, comprehensive research project and report produced by University of Calgary s Faculty of Environmental Design entitled Understanding Visitability for the Alberta Housing Context. Materials also developed to assist persons who use intermittent catheterization to manage their Bladder Health and for health care professionals regarding Treating Frequent Bladder Infections. Brochures were complemented by background paper on best practices. An evaluation of supportive housing models conducted and new models for community use developed and supported by business case. Builders award will be launched to promote accessibility and visitability. CPA (Alberta) capacity increased which allowed expansion of community development and service coordination. Peer support capacity increased through funding of two peer program coordinators. These are just some of the solutions that created positive impacts over the last 5 years! Teren Clarke Executive Director Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) Toll Free: Find us on Facebook and become a fan! Watch videos on our Youtube channel: HEAD OFFICE #305, Street Edmonton, Alberta T5H 4B9 Telephone: (780) Fax: (780) Executive Director: Teren Clarke SOUTHERN DISTRICT OFFICE Street NE Calgary, AB T2K 6J5 Telephone: (403) Fax: (403) RED DEER OFFICE #103, th Avenue Red Deer, Alberta T4N 3T1 Telephone: (403) Fax: (403) GRANDE PRAIRIE OFFICE 10 Knowledge Way Grande Prairie, Alberta, T8W 2V9 Telephone: (780) Fax: (780) LETHBRIDGE OFFICE Avenue South Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 0J9 Telephone: (403) Fax: (403) MEDICINE HAT OFFICE rd Street SE Medicine Hat, Alberta T1A 0G9 Telephone: (403) Fax: (403) ST. PAUL OFFICE Box 653 St. Paul, AB T0A 3A0 Telephone: (780) Fax: (780) LLOYDMINSTER OFFICE Avenue, Lloydminster, AB T9V 0Y8 Tel & Fax: (780) FORT McMURRAY Gregoire Park Centre 194 Grenfell Crescent Fort McMurray, AB T9H 2M6 Tel: (780) Fax: (780) WEST-CENTRAL OFFICE PO Box 128 Wabamun, AB T0E 2K0 Tel: (780) Fax: (780) CPA (Alberta) BOARD OF DIRECTORS Aaron Miller, Chair Dale Williams, Past Chair Scott Sankey, Treasurer Maxwell Brunette Lisa Crown Harvey J. DeCock Kent Hehr Bill Hendsbee Timothy Hill Martin Purvis Ray Royer Ned Shillington Eleanor Sugarman 4s4 Spinal Columns

5 i nbox LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Both Alberta and Edmonton are pioneers where accessibility and facilities for people with disabilities are concerned. This is why I was disappointed and upset by the events that happened to me at Edmonton s main library branch. Before a renovation two years ago, the front entrance was serviced by a very functional ramp. This was removed and replaced by a mechanical lift so that room could be made to expand the children s library. It was poorly planned and decreased accessibility to the library. On August 19th 2011, I went to the library to attend a meeting. Previous trips always involved bringing my daughters, so I never realized how these so-called renovations impeded access to those they were supposed to be helping. I arrived with no way to access the lift on my own. I am unable to let myself onto the lift and operate it independently. I waited five minutes before a security guard came close enough for me to flag over. When he approached, he told me to go around to the adjoining Second Cup. I reminded him that passage was locked at this time and he said he d unlock it for me. I went to the other side of the library building, arriving to find the doors to the café were closed. I waited. And waited. Finally, a café employee noticed me and let me in. I felt guilty as I sneaked through and said thanks for the deed, as I had no intention of buying anything from him at that time. I was let into the library and told the guard that I needed him to unlock (another) elevator so that I could get down to the basement for my meeting. He suggested, (after an identical conversation ten minutes before) that I use the mechanical elevator instead. I had to re-explain that I couldn t operate a manual elevator and he eventually led me to the main elevators so I could go to the basement. I went to my meeting and half-way through, the fire alarm went off and everyone was told to evacuate. Others attending the meeting wondered how to help me since the elevator can t be used during an alarm. I told them that I would go out through the one accessible exit from the basement which exits to the underground parkade. When I got to the door, I was surprised and shocked to find that the door was locked. I returned to the lobby to find no one there. I couldn t access the elevators and there was no other way out. I managed to grab the security phone and, despite the piercing noise of the alarm, was able to tell security that I was in the basement. For the third time in less than two hours, I had to go through the spiel about not being able to operate the manual lift. He told me to wait beside it and he said he d come down to get me. So what happened when I then needed to get down three steps to leave the building? Once again, I had to argue with security to help me. Not only was the one direct exit locked, but not a single person came down to verify that the basement was empty. After I contacted them, the library s suggestion is that I go WAY out of my way to use one of their other fine facilities instead. Notwithstanding that the main library branch is the one which hosts the Library Access Division, it s also within walking distance from my home. This is unacceptable under any circumstance and in the 5+ months since then, nothing has been done to address these issues. Laura Hello, I have only just recently been introduced to your resource guide online. It is excellent! Throughout my years at the MS Society, I have been attempting to create an accessible online resource (specifically for internal use). We currently have all of our resources printed and in a binder, but I feel like having it online, similar to a database, would be so much more accessible. Would you be willing to share with me the program that was used to create this? Thank you so much for your help. Sincerely, Cassy Lawson Community Outreach Coordinator Edmonton and Capital Region, MS Society of Canada Ed.: The CPA (Alberta) used?what PROGRAM? to develop our online resource guide. Apologies: Please note correction to title of article by Dan Palamarek. Title should read Istanbul by Electric Chair. CLIENT SERvICES EvALUATION SURvEY Each year, the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) conducts a survey of its clients to gather their feedback on the quality and impact of the services they have received. The survey supplies information that helps CPA (Alberta) to improve existing programs, scale back those that may have less value or impact, and design new ones. Read more about the survey at Have something on your mind you d like to talk about? Need to let people know something important? Want to give us feedback on a specific article, or Spinal Columns as a whole? Send us your comments to and we may publish it in an upcoming issue! Spinal Columns 5

6 i n thenews THENEWS IN Test ADAPTED COMPUTER Equipment If you don t know the difference between a head mouse and a roller ball, or if talk about gigs and apps sends you into spasms, then it s time to give CPA (Alberta) a call. Thanks to funding from the Alberta Spinal Cord Injury Initiative, CPA (Alberta) has acquired six portable adapted computer stations that are available on loan through its various offices. The purpose of the loan program is to give people with spinal cord injury (SCI) and other physical disabilities a chance to test-drive various types of adapted computer equipment before they purchase their own. Staff at six offices have been trained to use the equipment and are available to deliver it, set it up and assist users with troubleshooting. So far, about five people in the province have taken advantage of this opportunity since it first became available in the fall of There are a variety of gadgets available to try, including a laptop, head mouse system (a mouse that can be operated by moving your head), a roller ball mouse, tracking pad, adapted keyboard and voice recognition software. With practice, individuals with very limited mobility can learn to type and access the internet. The current loan period is 6 weeks to allow users enough time to become comfortable with the equipment. To help individuals obtain funding to purchase their own equipment, CPA (Alberta) s Client Services Coordinator, Kris Janvier, is compiling a list of funding sources which he will post to the Community Resource Guide on CPA (Alberta) s website at For more information and/or to arrange a loan, contact your local CPA (Alberta) office or call Kris at (780) , ext. 2234; or toll-free at 1 (888) GovERNMENT INCREASES AISH BENEFIT The Government of Alberta announced that effective April 1, 2012 the maximum AISH living allowance will increase from $1,188 to $1,588 and the employment income exemptions will double from $400 to $800 for single clients and from $975 to $1,950 for families. A healthy society looks after its most vulnerable, said Premier Alison Redford. This increase reflects the compassion of Albertans and will help individuals on AISH enhance their quality of life. (Press Release dated February 10, 2012). WHITEHORN CTRAIN STATION In May 2010, construction began to upgrade the Whitehorn CTrain Station in Calgary. The upgrades included lifecycle maintenance; enhancing the functional and aesthetic features of the station; replacing and extending the platform to accommodate future four-car CTrains; and enabling customers access to the south end of the platform. Construction was completed in October 2011 and Whitehorn CTrain Station reopened. Station upgrades also improved accessibility with the south end level crossing, a public elevator, increased number of accessible parking stalls on the south end, improved lighting, and enhanced visibility from the outside of the station as well as within the station. The Whitehorn CTrain Station was the first of a number of stations on the northeast LRT line to be upgraded. Although construction will be specific to the needs of each station, the purpose for the upgrades is consistent, and will further enhance Calgary Transit s ability to provide efficient and safe public transportation. DATS I-BOOK Edmonton s Disabled Adult Transit Service (DATS) is proud to offer DATS I-Book, a brand new online booking tool for its clients. This tool was launched in 2011 and enables users to book reservation trips online using the Internet, during regular booking hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, clients are able to view trips and cancel trips, if needed, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This includes trips that have been booked both online and by telephone through the DATS Customer Care Centre. Clients also receive automated confirmation s for trips booked and cancelled on DATS I-Book. There are just over a hundred clients currently using I-Book, and this number continues to grow monthly. I-Book also gives clients the ability to view their pick-up and drop-off locations on an interactive map and features a tool for viewing subscription or recurring trips and same-day trips. Clients can also manage their own profile and keep information 6 Spinal Columns

7 i n thenews up-to-date. They can also request a DATS registration form or a DATS I-Book username and password by contacting the DATS Customer Care Centre at (780) , Option 3 or ing them at DATS clients can use the DATS I-Book Help feature to learn how to use DATS I-Book through a step-by-step process. Alternatively, if you are interested in booking a DATS I-Book demo for your group or facility, call DATS Customer Care Center at (780) , option 3. If you are interested in using DATS I-Book, you can request access online at gov.edmonton.ab.ca. CPA (ALBERTA) ANNUAL REPORT CPA (Alberta) s 50th Anniversary Annual Report 2011 can be found at IN MEMORIAM The Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) would like to recognize the following individuals who have recently passed on. Lance O Soup Edmonton Beatrix O Heureux Lac La Biche Jeff Orr Elk Point Helen Paisley Edmonton If you would like to make an In Memoriam donation, see page 23. Spinal Columns 7

8 m eetthestaff Staff PROfiLES Jessica Jean joined CPA (Alberta) s Calgary office as an Aboriginal Services Coordinator in May She was born and raised in Lethbridge and moved to Calgary in She graduated from the Lethbridge College Child and Youth Care program in 2001 and moved into a position as a youth counselor for many years with teens who were in crisis and/or had addictions including working at the Blood Tribe Youth Ranch in Standoff, Alberta. Jessica also worked as a 1:1 support staff for adults with disabilities and/or mental impairments, including severe behavioral issues for 5 years before coming to CPA (Alberta). Jessica feels that all of her past experiences have led her to her current position. She loves being part of the bigger picture and working with aboriginal individuals living on reserve, as they are isolated and often not able to access the same services as those in the city. It is a very rewarding experience to be able to bring services to them that can improve their quality of life. Wanda Seifried is one of CPA (Alberta) s newest staff members, having joined the Red Deer office in September She lives in Red Deer, but her work as a Client Services Coordinator (CSC) takes her out across Central Alberta. Wanda comes to CPA from a health care background; she has previously worked in nursing, long-term care, and emergency medical services. Since she, as a youngster, had aspirations of being Hot Lips Houlihan from M*A*S*H, it is perhaps no coincidence that she ended up in the health care field. In addition to her work as a CSC, Wanda is also active in her community, volunteering in her children s school and as a Girl Guide leader. Wanda comes from a military family and this may be why she loves to travel and is always on the go with her husband and three children. She loves the great outdoors and enjoys everything from skating to camping. Jeff Dow joined the CPA (Alberta) s Red Deer office in August 2011, as a part-time Client Service Coordinator. What he likes most about the job is the flexibility that it gives him to continue with his schooling. It also helps him meet new people with disabilities to whom he can relate and learn from which, in turn, allows him to help others. In Jeff s spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, going camping and playing video games. Angie Barron has worked at CPA (Alberta) for two years in a variety of roles: she started out working on the Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion event, and then took on the role of Special Events Coordinator, before settling in her current position as Fund Development Coordinator. She is a proud Maritimer, born and raised in Nova Scotia, where she also received her B.Sc.. She worked for Easter Seals Nova Scotia for ten years, followed by one year with the NDP, working as the provincial election coordinator for Nova Scotia s 2005 election. After moving to Alberta with her husband Robert in 2005, she took a position at EmployAbilities before coming to CPA (Alberta). Angie s current position has her overseeing direct mail campaigns, grant acquisitions, and special events. She is also responsible for bringing a smile to everyone s face. 8 Spinal Columns

9 o n yourbehalf ADVOCACY Over the last few months there have been a number of new initiatives or existing initiatives that are moving ahead. CPA (Alberta) has been very active in trying to improve community access for persons with disabilities. We have also been working on the development of expanded housing options for persons with disabilities: BOYLE RENAISSANCE PROjECT Recently, drawings were finalized for an affordable housing building on 95th St. and 105th Avenue in Edmonton that will include 32 adapted suites and 58 non-adapted suites. The designs, while fairly compact, make good use of floor space and innovation. Groundbreaking ceremonies are slated for the third week of March Plans include new and innovative technologies that will be available for individuals with disabilities. Mike Holmes of the TV show Holmes on Homes has been very involved in the design of the complex. Partners in this building are the City of Edmonton, Métis Housing Corporation and CPA (Alberta). Anticipated completion is late STATION POINTE PROjECT CPA (Alberta) is working with Communitas, a nonprofit housing development group that would like to develop a property in Edmonton, close to the Belvedere LRT station. CPA (Alberta) is considering the development of one of the five apartments into an accessible affordable housing project. This project may have the ability to become a cooperative, ownership-based, rent-to-own including a rental housing project. The project will be designed to meet high environmental and sustainable principles. Communitas is hoping to achieve Net 0, which means that all energy used from the existing system will be replaced through internal methods. We are now looking for people who would be interested in working on this exciting project. If interested, please contact Larry Pempeit at (780) or SCI SOLUTIONS INITIATIvES CPA (Alberta) and other community stakeholders have developed an award system and assessment tool for housing developers. It is hoped that this award will bring interest to the need for accessible housing and encourage developers to build more accessible housing. An official unveiling of the awards is likely in mid There will also be an online database that will allow individuals or businesses to list properties for rent or sale. This will include an assessment tool to assess the accessibility of their property. Individuals looking to buy or rent a home can access the database to find out if a home is listed and if it meets their accessibility needs. The database will be provincial in scope and managed by the Calgary Accessible Housing Society. Look for an announcement in early May. In addition, a model is being designed that will illustrate one or two preferred options for the development of housing with a care component. It is hoped that this would be completed by May of this year. EDMONTON NGO Office PROjECT CPA (Alberta) is playing a leadership role for a group of nonprofit agencies that work with people with disabilities in the development of an office building that would include up to 22 agencies. This project would include meeting rooms, lunchrooms, support services and enhance collaboration among the agencies. It would also be beneficial to individuals who want to access more than one service agency, saving them time and energy. A business case is now being developed and should be completed by June The help you want when you need it the most. Pipella Law Serious Personal Injury Lawyers Edward S. Pipella, Q.C., leads a legal team with over 70 years combined experience practicing exclusively in the area of serious personal injury law. Hemiplegia Permanent Disabilities Brain Injury Quadriplegia Paraplegia Multiple Trauma Free Consultation and Hospital Visit No Fee Unless Recovery Competitive Rates Assistance with Securing Medical Aid For maximum results call: Edward S. Pipella, Q.C. (403) or (403) or (403) hour Service Call Personal P Injury L PIPELLA Law Lawyers 600, 404 6th Avenue S. W. Calgary, AB T2P 0R9 Spinal Columns 9

10 i nnovations surfing for solutions This is a great example of a website built by a person with a spinal cord injury (SCI) for people with spinal cord injuries. It appears to have a very active and educated group of users who post questions and answers on topics affecting people with spinal cord injuries (SCI), and the website archives have a great resource of SCI information. The mission of this website is to promote the progression of adaptive adventure and outdoor recreation opportunities for individuals with disabilities. They envision a world where adventure and outdoor recreation is accessible and affordable for everyone with a disability. The pictures and video of the bungee jumping paraplegic girl alone make it worth checking out. CPA (Alberta) s sister organization, the British Columbia Paraplegic Association (BCPA) recently launched their new and improved website which is a powerful, easy to use tool and resource for people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) or related physical disability, and their families. The site includes a new and improved SCI Information Database with information on just about everything relating to living life with a disability for example, housing, recreation and funding sources, to name a few can be found. Another improved feature is the Swap N Shop, a craigslist type of service for people selling disability related equipment. The Disabled World Daily website is a one-stop shop for articles and news stories when it comes to living with a disability. Updated with new materials every day, this site can help you stay on top of the many issues that affect people with disabilities! Moving up has never been easier. RAM Manufacturing Ltd. is a North American leader in the design and manufacture of vertical elevating products for residential and commercial buildings. We proudly manufacture the Trus-T-Lift and the UNI-VERS Crystal Elevator right here in Alberta. Trus-T-Lift s smooth and quiet performance makes this light weight, dependable and versatile unit perfect for any residential or commercial application. The UNI-VERS Crystal Elevator can be installed in various two and three story homes and commercial buildings, such as schools, churches, apartments and senior citizens centres. Our lifts and elevators can be customized to accommodate new or existing buildings with little or no modification. Independent mobility is your connection to the rest of the world. It allows you to remain active, improving your quality of life. Here at RAM Manufacturing Ltd., we take your independence seriously, giving you choice and quality at an affordable price. CALL TOLL-FREE: Spinal Columns

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12 i nnovations NEW PRODUCTS FOR YOU A GARMENT for WINTER ExCURSIONS A TrailRider is an excellent way for everyone, regardless of ability, to experience nature. But living in Northern Alberta means cold winters, and often less time on the trails. Stephanie Albrecht, a University of Alberta student in the faculty of Human Ecology, along with her supervisor Megan Strickfaden, an assistant professor with the faculty of Human Ecology are trying to change that. They are creating a clothing system that would provide warmth and protection from the elements for those who use the TrailRider so they can hit the trails in the winter. Sitting in a TrailRider for an extended period of time in the winter can be cold and potentially harmful to the participant. Blankets or sleeping bags are the most commonly-used option, but they can be bulky, inconvenient and they are often not made of practical materials for the outdoors. Working with engineers, Stephanie is designing a garment that is easy to enter and exit, regardless of ability, and will allow the participant a warm, comfortable experience. The students from the Engineering faculty will place heat sensors in the prototypes to find out where the most insulation is needed. On Monday, January 23, as part of the University of Alberta s ALES Week, Stephanie along with 11 other students from the faculties of Human Ecology, Nutrition and Food Science and Art and Design were able to get some hands-on experience with the TrailRiders, as well as some first-hand knowledge and ideas from the participants who use the TrailRider. Stephanie is continuing to develop the designs based off what was started by two students who graduated last year. She is hoping to have a prototype completed by April and ready for testing in September Needless to say, everyone is very excited for the prototype! Stay tuned for more information. NOT Just an ORDINARY KNIFE The shape of the ulu ensures that the force is centered more over the middle of the blade than with an ordinary knife. This makes the ulu easier to use when cutting hard objects such as bone. If you have difficulty slicing and dicing or if you can only use one hand, the ulu can be a great addition to your utensils. Because the rocking motion used when cutting on a plate or board with an ulu pins down the food being cut, it is also easier to use an ulu one-handed (a typical steak knife, in contrast, requires a fork). Check out ulu at Cooking with Cory see the book review in this issue shows how the ulu helped him get back in the kitchen after a spinal cord injury. Check out Cooking with Cory at A MORE DISCREET CATHETER FOR MEN Male catheter users have been calling for a more discreet catheter for many years. Now it s here. Coloplast is proud to introduce the first truly discreet catheter for men SpeediCath Compact Male. SpeediCath Compact Male is designed for discretion and practicality, both in and out of the home. Sleek, compact and both PVC- and phthalate-free, it s less than half the size of standard catheters. This makes it easier to store, carry, use and dispose of in less noticeable ways. Designed for discretion Compact and practical, both in and out of the home Can be inserted without touching coated section1,2 To be among the first to try SpeediCath Compact Male or for more information, please contact their consumer support team at 1 (866) or visit Know of a new or innovative product that you think other Spinal Columns readers would like to hear about? Send us a description and company contact information to and we may publish a profile in an upcoming issue! 12 Spinal Columns

13 NEW CATHETER FOR MEN Designed for discretion A compact and practical male catheter for use anywhere, anytime Considerably smaller than standard products, SpeediCath Compact Male s sleek, compact design makes catheterisation a more discreet process. 1 Designed for discretion Compact and practical, both in and out of the home Can be inserted without touching coated section 1,2 Learn more and sign up for free samples at speedicathcompactmale.coloplast.ca 1 Chartier-Kastler et al. Submitted (acceptance study). 2 Bagi et al. Submitted (pilot study). Coloplast develops products and services that make life easier for people with very personal and private medical conditions. Working closely with the people who use our products, we create solutions that are sensitive to their special needs. We call this intimate healthcare. Our business includes ostomy care, urology and continence care and wound and skin care. We operate globally and employ more than 7,000 people. The Coloplast logo is a registered trademark of Coloplast A/S Coloplast Canada 3300 Ridgeway Dr Unit 12 Mississauag ON L5L 5Z9 Spinal Columns 13 Tel:

14 r ecognition In addition to his many other jobs, particularly as Director of Community Development, Larry Pempeit has been the Editor of Spinal Columns since its inception in Prior to that, Larry worked as Editor of a disability magazine called The Spokesman. Almost 30 years later, Larry has decided to try and lighten his workload and work part-time. Focusing on his other major interests over the years, accessibility and housing for individuals with disabilities, Larry says he will now work three days per week, but those who know him wonder if this will really happen. I am struck by the fact that Spinal Columns has provided a remarkable archive about disability in our province including clients who tell their stories of struggle, perseverance, optimism; information about changing equipment and technology, various disability programs; the history of CPA (Alberta) and its staff and volunteers; and much more due in large to the hard work of Larry Pempeit. Through tight budgets and various administrations, Larry was supportive and oftentimes tenacious in his support of the magazine and its readers. When money was tight, Larry sought additional funding from various programs, funders and sponsors. While articles were provided by various sources, he was often a one man show, ensuring a finished product reached your mailbox on a regular basis. Spinal Columns was oftentimes the only way to ensure many of our clients received the information they needed. Larry remembers, After my spinal cord injury I found myself at loss as to what I should do with the rest of my life. Information that I could use to live in a world that was new to me wasn t easy to come by. In fact quite often I could never find any worthwhile information. Before I joined CPA, he continued, I had the opportunity to work on a magazine that provided information to Albertans who have disabilities. The value of that magazine and the les- PASSING ON THE by Teren Clarke sons I gained from working on it made it much easier for me to convince the management of CPA (Alberta) at that time to take on printing of a magazine that would bring information and personal experiences of living with a disability to CPA members. I think one of my greatest accomplishments with CPA (Alberta) is the continued funding and printing of Spinal Columns. My hope is it will continue well into the future. Even though Larry will be passing on the torch as Editor, we are happy he has agreed to continue as a member of the Editorial Committee so that we can continue to benefit from his vast knowledge and experience. He will also continue to provide regular contributions of On Your Behalf and From My Perspective, articles that we feel are thought-provoking and reflect some of the same feelings of many of our readers. It is interesting to note the following from our most recent Client Services Evaluation Survey: Comparing rates of awareness with utilization, we can see that Spinal Columns and Wheel-E had the highest uptake 88.9% of people who said they were aware of Spinal Columns also said they had read it in the last 12 months. We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Betty MacIsaac as she moves from Assistant Editor to Editor of Spinal Columns. Farewell but not goodbye to our long time Editor! SPINAL COLUMNS READERS In the 2011 CPA (Alberta) Services Evaluation Survey it was noted that The three services that were best known were Spinal Columns (81.8% of people were aware of it), the CPA (Alberta) website (71.9% were aware) and the Peer Conferences (65.3% were aware). 64.5% of people had heard of CPA s newsletter Wheel-E. 14 Spinal Columns

15 f eature 1 This existing ramp met the code requirements at the time it was built 20 years ago. The existing ramp ends right at the exit door. Therefore, the user must hope to hit the push button and then hope the door opens before he or she hits the bottom of the ramp. 2 DESIGNERS MUST NOT THINK OF ACCESSIBILITY AS JUST A MINIMUM CODE COMPLIANCE ISSUE by Ron Wickman A number of years ago, I was asked to design modifications to an existing interior ramp. This ramp is over 18 meters long, and involves two 90 degree and one 180 degree turns. The landings are not large enough for some people in larger wheelchairs and scooters to make the turns. The 1/10 ramp slope is steep by today s standards and does not meet the required 1/12 slope in the Barrier Free Design Guide. The ramp ends right at the exit door; again this does not meet code as there is supposed to be a 1500mm x 1500mm level landing before the door. Today, many people who use wheelchairs cannot get up or down this ramp. Finally, it was noted that some people who use wheelchairs were getting their feet caught in the vertical bars of the handrail, causing leg injuries. Where the term Barrier-Free Design relates to compliance with minimum codes and regulations designed to accommodate persons with disabilities, Universal Design relates to a design methodology dedicated to accommodate the broadest diversity and number of people who have to interact with the built environment throughout their life spans. We know that many more people use larger wheelchairs or scooters, therefore designers must look to accommodate such users and not just rely on the minimum standards of the Barrier Free Design Guide. 3 4 The modified ramp with an enlarged landing is larger than the minimum code requirements. The handrails were also modified to be a wall of stainless steel mesh. 5 The existing 1/10 ramp slope is steep making it difficult for those in manual wheelchairs to move up on their own. Renovations have been made to help meet the Alberta Building Code requirement of today; however, the steeper ramp could not be altered, so technically this ramp still does not meet current code. Spinal Columns 15

16 f eature SingaPORE & Kuala LUMPUR by Electric WHEELCHair by Dan Palamarek 16 Spinal Columns

17 f eature On December 30, 2011, my wife, Laurie, and I travelled to Singapore for a week, and then pushed on through to Kuala Lumpur for another week. On that Friday evening, we flew WestJet, from Edmonton to Vancouver. That trip was uneventful. We then boarded a 2:00 am Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific has an excellent aisle chair that is stored on the plane and folds out easily to provide a safe, comfortable transition onto the plane. The flight was approximately 11 hours, mostly in darkness, and my wife slept. The Cathay Pacific seats were cloth covered and comfortable; if they had been leather covered, then I probably would have sat on my Roho cushion. The luggage and electric wheelchair went through cargo to Singapore, and I sat in a Hong Kong wheelchair for the layover. Clearing Hong Kong security was an efficient and dignified event. Cathay Pacific took us from Hong Kong, straight south, to Singapore in about 3 hours. Singapore is an island state on the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula. It is almost on the equator, and there always seems to be a bit of an ocean haze to moderate the heat. It is protected from direct ocean forces by surrounding islands. Cathay Pacific staff were courteous and helpful throughout. English was spoken and used throughout the entire trip. Singapore airport must be amongst the best, with a metro connected. The metro was excellent, quiet with very little gap to get over. It used a simple computerized token system. Your stop station determines the fee and a token is provided for entry into the metro system. On leaving, the tokens are returned back. Metro stations have raised floor bumps that lead to elevator locations. Metro waiting platforms were enclosed. Singapore is thoroughly modern, with unique and surprising architecture. It is very walkable; Laurie and I walked about 10 kilometres a day. There is much to do and see: the National Museum, the Asian Museum, botanical gardens, Chinatown, Little India, the Arab Quarter, the Singapore Flyer (like the London Eye), and the Marina Bay Skypark (a ship perched atop three 57 floor hotel towers). There is a riverboat that travels the Singapore River channel. We managed to find a level access point and hopped aboard straight from dock A local market was bustling and full of fresh produce, including durian Dan Palamarek and his wife, Laurie. to boat. On the return, the Captain kept the boat in one position long enough for me to disembark. It was all good fun and everyone seemed to enjoy the test. Laurie knew a school chum from her U. of A. days, and we were treated to a great traditional dinner in their neighbourhood. Singapore imports almost all of its food. An evening local market was bustling and full of fresh produce, including durian which is the King of Fruits. In Singapore we stayed at the Novotel. The tap water was drinkable and staff were excellent (maintenance repaired a luggage caster that had broken). We had planned to take the train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. So when we arrived in Singapore, we used a wheelchair taxi to ride out to the Malaysian train station (not served by the metro) to check out accessibility and buy the tickets. Everything went fine and we rebooked the cabby for the actual departure trip. The cabby failed to show at the appointed time. The Novotel staff managed to locate another Spinal Columns 17

18 f eature wheelchair cab on short notice always reconfirm. At the train station we zipped through Singaporean and Malaysian security. The train had an 18 inch gap between it and the platform, but a metal bridge was found. The ride from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur is 6 hours. It travels through lush vegetation and simple village life. The train screams along, jostling its cars to and fro. It was worth every penny. Singapore, with a population of about 5 million, is organized and developed. Kuala Lumpur, with a population of 7.5 million, is less organized, less developed, but no less interesting. On pulling into the Sentral Station at KL, there was still a wide gap but no bridge. The wheelchair and I got carried off the train separately. The KL transit is Bombardier built. It operates much like Singapore; but like the Malaysian train, it screams through turns, strangely fitting into the more rough and tumble nature of KL. Places that are close to the transit can be accessible for wheelchair travellers. Places away from the transit are hard to get to. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel, which was itself beautiful and accessible, but to get around the neighbourhood meant dodging traffic and looking long and hard for level ish curbs. Yet an exciting and vibrant city, growing and developing constantly. As in Singapore, the people were always polite, helpful, and quick with smiles. We were able to visit a central Market, the National Square, City Hall, and the Petronas Twin Towers. We were unable to find a wheelchair taxi to drive us to specific sites. Laurie loved the shopping. As was the case in Singapore, the weather was warm and humid, but comfortable. We flew back from KL to Hong Kong. KL has an express transit line to the airport out of the Sentral Station. Again we put the luggage and wheelchair through to Vancouver. Upon arriving in Vancouver, my wheelchair had been damaged in flight. Luckily it was still operable. I filed a quick report with the Cathay Pacific counter in Vancouver. They did a visual inspection and gave me a tentative claim verification. Upon arriving in Edmonton and getting to the van, my seating position in my wheelchair was changed so much that I felt unsafe to drive from it. We came up with an alternative way to get home. Back at home, pictures were taken and a local assessment was done and ed to Cathay Pacific. If airlines are unable to push a chair; then, in lifting, damage can occur. Electric wheelchairs should have clear labels on how to unlock the gears to allow rolling to occur. Southeast Asia is where many of the future s stories could be written. It is rapidly developing its prosperity and its leadership. If the opportunity arises; please travel, explore, and share. P.S. In 2008, Laurie and I visited London, staying at the Novotel, in the Hammersmith district. I had planned to charge the wheelchair using a 110 volt AC to DC charger, and an offthe-rack 220 volt to 110 volt converter. The moment I plugged it all in, the converter failed and the charger went up in smoke. Undaunted, I went to the front desk, had them google wheelchair service centres, and returned to the room, armed with phone numbers and direction maps. In no time, I found a universal UPG battery charger that changes 100 to 240 volts of alternating current, into 24 volts of direct current. The universal charger cost 85 pounds, about 135 dollars. I have used it on all my trips and it works fine with any type of AC input. I have been unable to find it in Canadian shops. Dan enjoying the view from his hotel room. CLASSIC HEALTH SUPPLIES LTD. Caring enough to make a difference Catheters Condoms Night Bags Liners Deodorants Syringes Tubing Connectors Cleansers Gloves Leg Bags Diapers Needles Gauze Ostomy Walkers Phone (780) Toll Free Fax (780) Argyll Road Edmonton, Alberta T6C 4B Spinal Columns

19 o pinion FROM MY PERSPECTIVE by Larry Pempeit I ve always felt that one of the greatest contributions to my ability to be independent is the new technologies that are unfolding today. What is a luxury for some has become a necessity for me, saving many hours of frustration of possibly having to do without. I can only imagine how these technologies will improve my life and the lives of others who have a disability in the future. There are some technologies, however, that are now becoming a barrier for me where once I was independent. Over the last year I have noticed an increase in the way businesses manage their PIN pads. These little gems that made paying bills so easy are now becoming a barrier. Some stores are attaching them to fixed posts often well beyond my sight line and too high for me to punch in my PIN number. Grocery stores are my pet peeve, as I need to go there all time. Some stores only have two or three checkouts with lowered or detachable PIN pads. Great! That means I only have three choices. If two of those choices are closed, I end up with one. And if that happens to be an express line, (12 items or less) I have to find a clerk to open a till that has a lower machine. Occasionally, I ve been in a line where I didn t notice the machine was attached to a pole and unreachable. So I ask the cashier to try to remove it but that can t always happen. Quite often I m asked if I would like them to enter my PIN number. While I appreciate the offer, I don t want to announce my PIN number to everyone within hearing distance. At this point, I ask for the manager so that my bill can be moved to customer service, but sometimes that can t happen and they have to open another till that is accessible. This is an inconvenience for them as well as for me and other customers. I ve also found some businesses that have the fixed pin pad in the middle of the counter beyond my reach. Last week, I went to one business where it was mounted at the corner of the counter at the right height, but had shelving from the floor up, which prevented me from even getting close. This is an alarming trend for me. I was able to use my MasterCard when I couldn t reach the pin pad but now, with the added security of card chips, most businesses use pin pads for credit cards as well. Another alarming incident happened at the gas station. I gave them my MasterCard and they insisted I come into the gas station and enter my pin number. That meant I had to find a parking spot and go into the store. Now, not only do I have difficulty finding a full service gas station, but I also have the added problem of finding one where I don t have to get out of my vehicle. I think we need to stop this right now! Let s start writing to these businesses to explain just how much of a hardship this is for all of us who have trouble using pin pads that are unreachable. That s my opinion. Spinal Columns 19

20 Serious Injuries Serious L Over 50 years serving Albertans with their personal injury claims. (Left to Right) Bill Hendsbee, Frances Zinger, Ron Jewitt, Frank Mackay, George Somkuti, Jean Oliver, Warren Stengel An established tradition of legal excellence. Have successfully argued Canadian precedent setting injury cases at all Court levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada, which only hears matters of national importance. WHEELCHAIr ACCESSIBLE 20 Spinal Columns

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