In-Home Adjustment of New Spinal Cord Injury Caregivers

  • End date
    Apr 30, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Virginia Commonwealth University
Updated on 15 May 2021
spinal cord disorder


To improve spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation through stronger informal caregiving, the proposed study will modify and evaluate a telehealth Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for informal caregivers of individuals with SCI during the transition from hospital to home. The TAP was previously developed for stroke caregivers and has been found to decrease caregiver strain and depression. In the proposed study, the TAP will be modified for SCI and implemented at a state-of-the-art SCI rehabilitation facility with a very high volume of SCI treatment and with telehealth technology already in place through which to test the intervention.


SCI Caregivers will be randomly assigned to either the TAP group or to a control receiving the standard care provided by the rehabilitation facility. The TAP begins before discharge and extends across six weeks. It includes three components to improve caregiver mental health and informal care: (1) skill development, (2) education, and (3) supportive problem solving. TAP caregivers will receive an SCI caregiving guidebook, a 1-hour intervention session by an SCI clinician before hospital discharge, and four 1-hour telehealth clinic-to-home visits at 1, 2, 4, and 6 weeks after discharge by the same clinician. Data will be collected from caregivers and individuals with SCI at baseline immediately before discharge and at 2 and 4 months after discharge.

Condition Spinal Cord Injury, Myelopathy, Trauma, Spinal Cord Injuries, Wounds, Spinal Cord Disorders
Treatment Transition Assistance Program
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03244098
SponsorVirginia Commonwealth University
Last Modified on15 May 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

SCI Patient Inclusion Criteria
have a telephone in the home or cellular phone and are able to talk on the phone in English
are able to provide informed consent
demonstrate a clinician-rated loss in motor/sensory function on the ASIA scale (i.e., have a spinal cord injury)
Caregiver Inclusion Criteria
have a telephone in the home or cellular phone and are able to talk on the phone in English
are able to provide informed consent
are a primary caregiver of the individual with SCI
Caregivers with scores below 10 on the literacy screen will identify a family member or friend to review the guidebook with the caregiver. If no one is identified, the TAP clinician will review the materials with the caregiver and function in that additional capacity

Exclusion Criteria

individual with SCI receives his/her primary care from a professional caregiver or other individual outside of the household besides the primary caregiver
individuals with SCI or caregivers with known current uncontrolled substance dependence, aphasia, anosognosia (deficit in self-awareness), or treatment due to known self-inflicted injury
individuals living alone
SCI patient without decision making capacity to consent
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