New study receives $12.7 million PCORI funding to improve post-acute care for TBI patients

Researchers at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation and Baylor Scott & White Research Institute will participate in a nationwide study to improve post-acute care for patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The study is funded by a $12.7 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent nonprofit organization established by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.

Jeanne Hoffman, a professor in rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine, and Jesse Fann, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UW School of Medicine, are the principal investigators of the five-year project. The research team plans to enroll 900 people with moderate to severe TBI who are discharged from inpatient rehabilitation at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation and five other facilities: University of Washington, Indiana University, Ohio State University, Mount Sinai in New York and Moss Rehabilitation in Philadelphia.

The patients will be randomized to one of two groups: standardized discharge care, which includes advice and referral sources, and standardized discharge care with a care manager who will assess for unmet needs and assist with coordination of care via telephone over six months. The project team will compare functioning and quality of life at three, six, nine and 12 months in these two groups.

Nearly 2 percent of Americans live with TBI-related disabilities and more than 40 percent of those hospitalized for TBI have long-term disability – including a mix of physical, cognitive, behavioral and psychosocial difficulties. Adding a care coordinator is a model used regularly by the VA system, but it has not been studied to determine if this improves outcomes.

"Poor outcomes after a traumatic brain injury are caused, in part, by the challenges of transitioning from inpatient rehabilitation to outpatient care, leaving many survivors with unmet health care needs," said Simon Driver, Ph.D., director of rehabilitation research and Ginger Murchison chair for traumatic brain injury research for Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation. "We look forward to working with UW Medicine on this important research initiative which we believe will significantly benefit our patients and families."

The study was selected through a highly competitive review process in which patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals. The award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

"This study was selected for PCORI funding for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other health care stakeholders in a major study conducted in real-world settings, and for its potential to answer an important question about traumatic brain injury and fill a crucial evidence gap," said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby.


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