RHI RESEARCHERS AWARDED $240,000 FROM INDIANA SPINAL CORD AND BRAIN INJURY RESEARCH BOARD
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana announced today that two of its research projects have been awarded a total of nearly $240,000 from the Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Board.
RHI’s Dr. Jim Malec, PhD, and Dr. Jacob Kean, PhD, along with Purdue University’s Dr. Joseph Thomas, and Susan Perkins and Tracie Pettit from the Indiana Trauma Registry, will receive $119,985 to conduct research aimed at expanding scientific knowledge about the long-term outcomes and perceived needs of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI), as well as expanding the knowledge about injury-related and demographic factors associated with outcomes and perceived needs.
In addition, this team, led by Dr. Malec, will develop methods for conducting follow-up with individuals with SCI and TBI that may be used by the Indiana Trauma Registry in the future, and explore the potential to link the Indiana Trauma Registry to other relevant State of Indiana databases and include commonly prescribed medications.
“This study, which is focused solely on Indiana residents, should yield valuable scientific information,” said Malec, the hospital’s research director. “It will provide Hoosier researchers, care providers and policy makers with practical information to guide the development of systems of care and services, public policy, and future research to assist those who have experienced severe traumatic injuries to return to full and productive lives.”
Dr. Lance Trexler, Ph.D., and Laura Trexler, OTR, both members of the RHI team, will be utilizing their $119,404 grant to study the effectiveness of “Resource Facilitation” services – public or private sector services that help a person reach goals such as going back to work and getting re-engaged in their communities – on a patient’s return to work after TBI.
A small pilot study conducted previously at RHI – the first-ever controlled study of Resource Facilitation – demonstrated that 67 percent of the group who received these kinds of services returned to work compared to 36 percent in the no-treatment control group. Those who received Resource Facilitation services also showed superior overall community reintegration, and the cost was $1000 or less per participant.
“On top of the improved return-to-work rate, the benefits of Resource Facilitation may also include an increased likelihood that students will receive appropriate education support; an increased ability by the family to understand and support someone with brain injury; and, reduced long-term dependence on public assistance,” Malec said. “And beyond the benefits to an individual with brain injury and their families, these outcomes are expected to significantly reduce the societal costs of brain injury.”
A community collaboration between Clarian Health and St. Vincent Health, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (www.rhin.com) opened its doors in January 1992 as one of the largest freestanding rehabilitation hospitals in the Midwest. It provides inpatient acute services, and outpatient and vocational rehabilitation services for adults with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes, amputations, orthopedic conditions, neuromuscular diseases, burns and related disabilities. RHI’s Sports Program, which is recognized as among the best in the country, serves hundreds of people with disabilities every year.