Concussion recovery app launches with donor support


Small beginnings, big ideas and proactive creativity. Long before the advent of the smart phone, these were the principles that led Frank Cowan to success in the early 20th century insurance business. A century later, the Cowan Foundation has continued that legacy through their support of MyBrainPacer™, an innovative new app from St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

When a person experiences a concussion or brain injury, it can be difficult to return to their normal routine. If they push themselves too hard, they can make their symptoms worse – but if they don’t do enough, they can delay their recovery.

An occupational therapist in St. Joseph’s Acquired Brain Injury Program developed a system to help her patients by assigning points to day-to-day tasks (e.g. grocery shopping, driving and reading) based on difficulty, energy required and symptoms triggered. By working toward personal quotas, patients can understand their limitations and gain control of their recovery.

With the generous support of community donors like the Cowan Foundation, the points system has evolved into the MyBrainPacer app. Moving from paper to an app allows patients to self-monitor their recovery on the go.

Developing the app required strong partnerships and a dedicated project team of St. Joseph’s researchers, therapists, IT experts, patients and donors.

“In 2015, we recognized the great potential of the work being done by St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation in London and the Parkwood Institute around reducing symptoms for those experiencing post-concussion syndrome,” explained Mary D’Alton, Executive Director, The Cowan Foundation. “We are pleased to extend our support for the second phase of this ground-breaking project.”

“Made possible by innovation, research, and collaboration, this app has the potential to significantly impact those living with a brain injury or concussion.” Says Heather McLachlin, President, Cowan Insurance Group.  “We are proud to support this project since this app is a great tool to empower those struggling to continue their daily activities and will provide a clearer path to recovery. This tool will not discriminate on who it can help, the broad reach of this tool to various audiences is one of its greatest assets.”

MyBrainPacer is available to the public to use for free. It will also be marketed to physicians and care providers as a resource for their patients. In turn, users will be invited to participate anonymously in ongoing research so that St. Joseph’s can continue to test, revise and optimize the app.

Small beginnings, big ideas and proactive creativity. They’re what launched St. Joseph’s original points system, and what sparked its evolution into MyBrainPacer. For people recovering from a brain injury, inventive tools like this can help them get back to their lives.

You can support new technologies and innovative patient care at St. Joseph’s with a gift today.

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