Improving Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Outcomes

Project Type
Principal Investigator Name
Gale Whiteneck, PhD, FACRM
Principal Investigator Email
Start Date:
End Date:
Target Population(s):
Individuals admitted for initial inpatient rehabilitation after traumatic spinal cord injury
Project Website:
This 5-year project will use Practice-Based Evidence (PBE) research methodology to isolate specific components of rehabilitation interventions, and to determine how, and to what degree, each component is associated with outcomes. PBE is an outcomes-directed, model-building process that has identified and established effective and efficient evidence-based treatment guidelines in stroke rehabilitation and other diagnostic groups and clinical settings. PBE methodology will be used to identify specific SCI rehabilitation interventions that are most effective based on eight primary outcomes of acute rehabilitation: (1) neurologic recovery and (2) functional independence attained during initial rehabilitation and the first year after injury; (3) discharge to home; (4) medical complications and (5) rehospitalization in the first year after injury; (6) return to productive activity, (7) the extent of societal participation, and (8) perceived quality of life reported at the first anniversary of injury. Treatment effects will be examined controlling for differences in patient characteristics and for severity of injury and illness. PBE methodology allows a large number of intervention-by-impairment interactions to be examined, while patient individual differences are controlled for. The methodology is very efficient at identifying interventions that are associated with better outcomes.