Health Maintenance Tool: Now as an app

People with a spinal cord injury can now use a mobile app to more easily access information and tools in the Health Maintenance Tool.

Information and tools for people who want more independence over their health and spinal cord injury (SCI) are now available through a new app called 'SCI Health Toolkit'.

This is a digital version of the Health Maintenance Tool, which continues to be available printed and as a downloadable PDF. The app also includes new information to help users manage their mental health.

Providing the information in a variety of formats gives clinicians, people living with SCI and their families choice in how they access information and support.

Ms Susan Pearce AM, Secretary NSW Health, launched the new app today at an event hosted by the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation.

Download the app from any app store, search "SCI Health Toolkit"
Learn more about the app

"The health needs of people living with spinal cord injury are complex, not only in the early days after injury but throughout their life. The Tool and app empower people to expertly and proactively manage their health needs independently, and with their care team."

"We want people with a spinal cord injury to have improved quality of life and health outcomes” Dr Nick Allsop, Group Executive of icare Lifetime Schemes said.

Features of the Health Maintenance Tool and app

With the app on your mobile device, users have access to:

  • Diaries to track and monitor changes in health
  • A care plan that is easy to update with health and care needs, and share with health professionals and those providing informal support
  • Quick health check to get a fast indicator of a health-related issue and understand what actions to take

The Health Maintenance Toolkit offers information on six key areas of health:

  • Mental health
  • Bladder
  • Bowel
  • Skin
  • Pain
  • Autonomic dysreflexia – a medical condition that causes a rapid rise in blood pressure

Brendon Gardiner lives with a spinal cord injury and spoke at the launch event about his experiences using the tool.

"I have different issues on different days. Sometimes my body has a mind of its own, sometimes there are massive problems because of standard communication breakdowns" Brendon said.

"It's comforting to have an extra resource I can go to when I have a problem, and information that helps me avoid future problems."
Brendon Gardiner

Partnering for impact

The original Health Maintenance Tool was developed by Royal Rehab, in partnership with the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research at the University of Sydney, and with financial support from icare NSW. It was launched in 2020 as a printed resource and a downloadable PDF.

Read more in this icare news article

The digitisation of the Tool into an app and website was undertaken by the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, in collaboration with Royal Rehab and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation, with financial support from icare NSW. This included the addition of a new mental health section.

"Through true co-design, we’ve produced something that's globally unique. It takes time to co-create and icare's support has allowed us to do this,"
Professor James Middleton, Clinical Director of the State Spinal Cord Injury Service, NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation

"There's been an enormous amount of engagement and co-development with people who have a spinal cord injury, general practitioners and carers and organisations like icare."

"With their input the mental health information has the right focus and tone, and we’ve addressed the need for a digital solution" Middleton said.

icare would like to thank all the individuals who represented people living with SCI, academic researchers, healthcare professionals and staff of the three spinal units in NSW for their contributions.

"It has been a privilege to be involved in the development of the Health Maintenance Tool app, helping to empower people by providing guidance and recommendations to support them in proactively managing their spinal cord injury," Dr Allsop said.