The NIH has awarded a $4.3 million grant to 11 health care facilities in the U.S. and Canada to identify optimal rehabilitation therapies for victims of traumatic brain injuries. Rush University Medical Center in Illinois, is among the facilities chosen to participate in the study.
The five-year study is expected to collect records of more than 2,300 patients who have suffered moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. The information included in the records will be demographics, diagnostic and clinical profiles. Daily logs will track individualized physical, occupational, speech/language, and psychological therapies as well as medical treatment and social support. Outcomes will be cataloged to the patients' characteristics and therapeutic treatments.
"Our aim in this study is to isolate individual components of the range of therapies we use to treat our patients and determine how, and to what degree, each is associated with improved function," said Dr. James Young, an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of brain injuries. Young currently is chairman of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rush.
Post discharge, a year's follow-up of each patient will assess their quality of life. The analysis will involve a research methodology referred to as evidence-based practice for clinical practice improvement. This methodology relies on clinical practice to determine what works for whom, when and at what cost. Previously, this method had worked successfully to improve treatment for stroke.
"From the extraordinary wealth of data we'll collect in this five-year analysis, we will be able to offer clinicians the information that can help them evaluate their current treatment practices and select therapies that are most likely to help their patients," Young said.