Comp Clues


Indiana’s Traumatic Brain Injury Model System

By Susan Hartlerode, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS;im Graham; and Jim Malec, PhD Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana and IUSM Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
| Date: 12/09/2014

For nearly two years, the partnership of Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI) has been one of sixteen rehabilitation centers designated as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Model System site. This designation has allowed RHI/IUSM physicians, researchers and clinical staff to collaborate with other national leaders in brain injury care and research.

For TBI, RHI offers an interdisciplinary approach of physicians, other clinicians, and researchers specializing and credentialed in working with individuals who have a TBI including those with disorders of consciousness. This team consists of neuropsychologists, physiatrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists and nurses.

The TBI Model Systems began in 1987 through grants from the United States Department of Education and the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research (NIDRR) and is a network of the leading centers in medical rehabilitation research and patient care that focus on tracking and improving recovery of individuals with TBI. Sites selected to be a part of the TBI Model Systems provide a continuum of care from the initial onset of injury through return to community and work. Grants are awarded to facilities in five year cycles.

Each Model System like RHI/IUSM collects data to be entered into a longitudinal national database managed by the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. Data on long term outcomes for individuals with TBI has been collected through the TBI Model Systems for over 25 years. Participation in this national database allows RHI to follow its patients with TBI over the long term. In addition to contributing to this longitudinal database, each TBI Model System center pilots its own studies. Currently, the Indiana TBI Model System at RHI is studying the effect of irritability and aggression following TBI through a research initiative called the Brain Research in Irritability and Aggression Network (BRAIN). BRAIN researchers are developing methods to better understand and reduce the negative impact of irritability and aggression on those with TBI and their families. It is estimated that 29-71 percent of those with TBI have irritability and aggression that negatively impacts social interactions and employment.

Clinical staff at RHI benefit from the TBI Model System designation in numerous ways. Each year, RHI staff attends an annual leadership conference in which they are able to collaborate with other national leaders in TBI rehabilitation. RHI clinicians have the opportunity to discuss best practice diagnostic and treatment plans, analyze cutting edge therapeutic equipment and materials, and gain insight into the practices of the leading brain injury specialists in the country. For example, RHI staff learned the benefit of a car transfer simulator and has implemented a TRAN-SIT® Car Transfer Simulator in which patients can practice safe car transfers from the convenience of the therapy gym without regard to weather conditions. Also, once a month, TBI clinicians from RHI participate in teleconference meetings in which they are able to discuss pertinent topics related to rehabilitative care of patients with TBI. To review the article in its entirety, please click here”

The entire TBI staff at RHI are proud to be recognized as part of the TBI Model Systems and assume the responsibility of this recognition by continuing to offer the highest level of rehabilitation services in Indiana. In the words of Dr. Daniel B. Woloszyn, CEO and Clinical Neuropsychologist at RHI: “As the sole traumatic brain injury model system site in the state of Indiana, this award further validates best practice in rehabilitation care. It is comforting for RHI patients, acute care hospital physicians, and the Indianapolis community to know that patients with brain injuries, those sustaining strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple trauma and other injuries or illnesses have available to them outstanding rehabilitation professionals at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana and Indiana University School of Medicine.”