The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's NeuroRecovery Network (NRN) held a national training week recently. More than 100 NRN personnel spent five days at Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville, KY honing their Locomotor Training and data collection/entry skills, and participating in breakout sessions and committee meetings. It is a requirement of the NRN program that all staff, including center directors, physicians, clinical supervisors, data management personnel and physical therapists (PTs) and aides, attend these annual training meetings.
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One of the essential NRN ingredients is standardization in all things across all centers. An enormous amount of time and effort are directed at precisely how LT is done, what assessment (outcome) data is collected, and how it is entered into the central NRN data registry. The same is true for the medical management and eventual discharge of NRN participants. These and many other issues are continually revisited by the directors, physicians and therapists and tweaked if need be.
Volunteer spinal cord injured participants spend long hours working with the PTs and aides in the Frazier NRN clinic, perfecting all the fine points of locomotor training. The result is that the intervention is delivered across all NRN centers with almost breathtaking precision and standardization. This optimizes benefits to the participants on the health, quality of life and functional recovery fronts.
In response to the program's rapid growth in the past year, Andrea Behrman, PhD (University of Florida) was appointed assistant director of the NRN. Together with director Susan Harkema, PhD (University of Louisville and Frazier Rehab), they are responsible for every aspect of the program, which has now enrolled 184 participants. The recent launch of the first East Coast NRN Community Fitness and Wellness Facility and the anticipated opening of a similar West Coast facility in LA, will enable CDRF to make locomotor training more rapidly available to more people.
Susan Howley, Reeve Foundation's director of research, who spent two days at the meeting said, "Training week is a little bit like D-Day maneuvers in its complexity. Drs. Harkema and Behrman have done an admirable job of orchestrating the every movement of 100+ NRN personnel. For five days, from 8AM until 6PM, every single person has specific places to be, things to do, skills to hone, new knowledge to learn, and tasks to complete."