Current SCI Studies

Dr. Paul Perrin and Dr. Melody Mickens are working on a caregiver intervention study in order to improve SCI rehabilitation through stronger informal caregiving. Caregivers, those who play a key role in the care of individuals with SCI, can experience high levels of depression and poor health. This can impact the quality of care that they provide. The transition of the individual with SCI from the hospital back into the home is a sensitive time in which these issues are especially prevalent for the caregiver.

The current study evaluates a Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for SCI caregivers during the transition from hospital back to home. The TAP has, in previous studies, been found to decrease caregiver strain and depression. The current study will use a modified version of the TAP for SCI and will implement it in a rehabilitation facility with a high volume of SCI. SCI caregivers will be assigned to either a control group receiving normal care at the facility or the TAP. The TAP includes skill development, education, and supportive problem solving in order to improve the mental health and informal care of caregivers.

The TAP group will receive an SCI caregiving guidebook, a 1-hour session by an SCI clinician before the patient leaves the hospital, and four 1-hour videoconference clinic-to-home sessions at 1, 2, 4, and 6 weeks by the same clinician. Data will be collected before the patient leaves the hospital, and at 2 and 4 months post-discharge. If funded, this proposal will: (1) directly benefit the SCI caregivers who receive the TAP as well as the individuals for whom they provide care, (2) test an approach that if successful, could be exported and tested in SCI rehabilitation facilities across the US, (3) allow us to provide guidance to clinicians and other researchers regarding rehabilitation services for SCI caregivers, and (4) contribute more broadly to research that informs and improves psychosocial health outcomes for individuals living with SCI.