With his head down buried in a textbook, he put up his hand and said, “I want to get this”. After years of frustration, doubt, and lack of progress, what changed for this patient? Dennis fondly remembers this pivotal moment in this patient’s rehabilitation journey. What facilitated this change? Was it listening to the patient, or building rapport, or the evidence-based treatment? There are no easy answers to these questions. Rehabilitation has been defined as a process, which encompasses many actions as a bundle; as a strategy, with overall specific aims; and lastly, it is person-centred. The process is far too mystifying and complex to ever truly get a handle on all the nuances. Dr. Derrick Wade summarized the challenge in a recent essay, “Attempting to define rehabilitation ‘for scientific purposes’, or indeed for any purpose, will fail.” Dennis has developed a heuristic — Blending clinical evidence with modern artistry — which attempts to address the difficulty of defining rehabilitation, the artistry of a person-centred approach, and noting what counts and what does not. Dennis’ goal is to facilitate as many of these pivotal moments through his research and clinical work.
Dennis’ clinical work has focused on brain injury rehabilitation with children and adults with complex motor, cognitive, and communication impairments, many of whom required assistive technology for mobility and cognitive rehabilitation. Dennis has extensive volunteer experience, sitting on the boards of Brain Injury Canada and the Brain Injury Association of Windsor / Essex County. Dennis has contributed to the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation’s publications on brain injury and concussion guidelines.
While a member of the PCHI Lab, Dennis will be researching the development and evaluation of e-health technologies. Specifically, evaluating the implementation of digital health solutions for people with chronic conditions, mainly the design, features, & components of patient portals and clinical information systems that may lead to improved effectiveness and engagement with patients/caregivers with neurological conditions with the potential to improve the outcomes and course of rehabilitation with this population.