Research

Web-Based Wheelchair Maintenance Training Program

The wheelchair is likely the single most enabling technology a clinician can provide but the impact is compromised when it cannot be utilized when it does not work or fails before insurance is willing to replace it.  Wheelchair breakdowns are incredibly common and consequences of breakdowns include missing work and appointments, being stranded, and being injured.  Wheelchairs are frequently poorly maintained.  Lack of training and poor wheelchair quality can lead to secondary disabilities.  These secondary disabilities can be a result of injuries caused by wheelchair failures and/or tips and falls.  This type of training provides the opportunity to provide education to wheelchair users and professionals to attempt to decrease breakdowns and secondary consequences without the burden of travel to a wheelchair center for maintenance training.
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Web-Based Transfer Training Program

Mastering the skills to perform transfers independently is a key milestone of functional rehabilitation because transfers are essential for daily living, performed on average 15-20 times per day, ranked among the most strenuous tasks of daily living, and believed to be a major contributor in the development of pain and injury at the shoulders. Unfortunately, time in rehab is becoming more limited for wheelchair users and access to training is often restricted by transportation and access to knowledgeable clinicians.  The web based training materials we are evaluating in this study may be an excellent low cost alternative with broad accessibility to provide individuals with the training in this key area. 
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Equity and Quality in Assistive Technology for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury 2.0 (EQuATE)

The objective of this project is to investigate the equity and quality of assistive technology (AT) provision and outcomes for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). The aims of this study are: 1) Collect descriptive data on AT used by individuals with SCI including wheelchair make, model, failures and repairs. Collect longitudinal data through a smartphone app. This data will enable us to track the impact of insurance market changes, find differences in wheelchair failures and present this information to wheelchair ¬users. 2) Explore the influence of individual characteristics such as financial strain, educational quality, health literacy, geographic location and self-efficacy on differences in AT quality and other health related outcomes for individuals with SCI. 3) Broadly disseminate findings related to wheelchair failures and repairs to the wheelchair community thus enabling individuals with SCI to make informed choices.

Lead Center: University of Pittsburgh Model Center of Spinal Cord Injury

Collaborating Centers:
Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Case System
Spaulding New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center
Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System
Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System
Regional SCI Center of the Delaware Valley

 

Residential Instability in Chronic SCI

This study seeks to understand why individuals move and where they move and if movers and non-movers differ in health and community participation outcomes and in healthcare access and use.  This study will assess how many times individuals with SCI have moved since original injury and reasons why someone moves in addition to household members, ownership, accessibility, and perceptions of neighborhoods related to each move. 

Lead Center: Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System

Collaborating Centers:
University of Pittsburgh Model Center of Spinal Cord Injury
Southern California Spinal Cord Injury Model System
Northeast Ohio Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System
Rocky Mountain Regional SCI System
Spaulding New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center

 

Early Predictors of Rehabilitation Outcomes After Acute Traumatic SCI

The existence of integrated trauma systems and trauma registries has proved to be essential in improving trauma-related survival rates, with an overall reduction in risk of death of up to 25% when care was provided at a trauma center. The reduction in mortality is attributed to improved and effective triage in the field and highly specialized regional trauma centers that can provide skilled care in a timely manner. Delivering care for an individual based on mortality statistics is critical for patients’ survival, but to improve the delivery of care for those that survive, data points beyond mortality are required. The relationships between assessments and management protocols initiated at the scene, in the emergency department (ED) and acute care hospital with functional outcomes during rehabilitation needs to be known to further improve patient care. Currently separate data bases exist within emergency medical services (EMS), Trauma and Rehabilitation, but they don’t talk to each other. The merger of information from these databases will provide the information that may alter current decision based management protocols based on functional outcomes rather than mortality. 

Lead Center: Northeast Ohio Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System

Collaborating Centers:
University of Pittsburgh Model Center of Spinal Cord Injury
Ohio Regional SCI Model System