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The Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System

PI: Cynthia Harrison-Felix, PhD, PhD, Gale Whiteneck, PhD, Jeffrey Cuthbert, PhD
Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
Grant Number: H133A120032
Dates: 2012-2017
Contact: Jeffrey Cuthbert jcuthbert@craighospital.org 303 789 8028

To achieve the goal of providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary services for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and conducting research that develops evidence-based rehabilitation interventions and clinical practice guidelines, the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System (RMRBIS) proposes to conduct an ambitious program of site-specific research, lead or participate in collaborative module research, maintain exemplary TBI Model Systems National Database participation, and advance an established TBI Model System of Care and Research.

Since first being designated as a TBI Model System in 1998, the RMRBIS has been organized around the nationally recognized rehabilitation services of Craig Hospital. The RMRBIS also includes five trauma centers, four long-term acute care facilities, and an extensive community-based support network that collaboratively provide a comprehensive multidisciplinary specialty system of TBI care for Colorado and beyond.

Two site-specific randomized controlled clinical trials will be conducted by RMRBIS. The first study, titled “Home-Based Virtual Reality Treatment for Chronic Balance Problems in Adults with TBI” will evaluate a low-cost home-based physical therapy program that incorporates the use of a commercially available virtual reality system aimed at increasing balance and community mobility, enhancing overall balance system function, reducing the risk of falls, maximizing treatment adherence, and improving participation in life activities for individuals with TBI who have exhausted their formal physical rehabilitation opportunities. The second study, titled “Improving Well-Being after TBI through Structured Volunteer Activity” will evaluate the efficacy of a novel intervention to facilitate successful volunteer placement following TBI, and will examine the effect of structured altruistic volunteering upon well-being.

The RMRBIS has a history of leading and participating in multiple collaborative module studies. This practice will be continued with participation in at least one module project, the topics for which will be determined after the TBI Model System Centers have been designated. The RMRBIS will contribute at least 50 new cases each year to the TBI Model Systems National Database and continue its record of the best rates of longitudinal follow-up data collection, while maintaining its reputation for high quality data.

The RMRBIS will maintain its successful system of care and research. It will fully involve individuals with TBI and other disabilities, address the needs of individuals from minority backgrounds, and collaborate with other National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-funded projects.

An ambitious agenda has been set by the RMRBIS with outcome-oriented goals to advance knowledge of (1) the treatment of chronic balance deficits after TBI, (2) improvement of well-being after TBI, and (3) outcomes and/or management of TBI through participation in at least one module study. To accomplish these goals, the RMRBIS dissemination plan will include submitting four manuscripts to high impact peer-reviewed journals, lead or participate in at least one module project manuscript, make four presentations at national consumer and professional meetings, and disseminate its research results to consumers and other stakeholders through collaborations with the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center.

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