DUSON Research on Brain Injuries

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tolu oyesanya and karin reuter rice headshots

More than 5.3 million individuals — children and adults — permanently live with a brain injury-related disability, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. Two researchers from the Duke University School of Nursing have devoted an aspect of their research toward better understanding the ramifications that brain injuries inflict on patients and their loved ones and how to give them the best health care possible.

Tolu Oyesanya

Tolu O. Oyesanya, PhD, RN, associate professor, uses her research to improve the health and wellbeing of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their families across the treatment continuum. Her recent work focuses on developing and testing interventions to improve the TBI transition from hospital to home.

Her recently published work in this area of research include:

  • "'Just Tell Me In A Simple Way': A Qualitative Study on Opportunities to Improve The Transition from Acute Hospital Care to Home from the Perspectives of Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury, Families and Providers" in Clinical Rehabilitation
    • This study involved interviewing patients with TBI, family caregivers and providers in order to identify points of improvement in the transition process from acute hospital care to home for patients with TBI and their families.
  • "Regional Variations in Rehabilitation Outcomes of Adult Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation Investigation" in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    • Through a secondary analysis of a large, multi-center dataset from the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation, researchers compared the rehabilitation outcomes of adult patients from different regions who have moderate-to-severe TBI and received care at an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
  • "Development, Reliability, and Validity of the Perceptions of Brain Injury Survey" in Journal of Nursing Measurement
    • This study assessed the psychometric properties of the Perceptions of Brain Injury Survey, an instrument designed to assess nurses' perceptions and preparation to care for patients with TBI.
  • "Selection of Discharge Destination for Patients With Moderate-to-Severe Traumatic Brain Injury" in Brain Injury
    • This cross-sectional, exploratory survey study examined the criteria that acute care interdisciplinary providers use to select discharge destination for patients with TBI.

Recently, Oyesanya and her team have submitted two research proposals, “Resilience Across the Lifespan in the Early Post-Acute Period for Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury” and “Improving The Transition from Acute Hospital Care to Home for Older Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury and Families."

She is an active member of the International Brain Injury Association and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Karin Reuter-Rice

A clinical expert in pediatric critical care, Karin Reuter-Rice, PhD, CPNP-AC, FCCM, FAAN, associate professor, focuses her research on trauma and head injury, with a particular focus on children and how they are impacted by TBIs. In addition to her findings being presented internationally, she lent her expertise in 2019 to the third and latest edition of the “Guidelines for the Management of Pediatric Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.” For this edition, a panel of pediatric critical care, neurosurgery and other pediatric experts added almost 50 additional research studies and eight new, or revised, treatment recommendations. More recently, Reuter-Rice submitted a proposal to conduct a longitudinal, multi-center study that will track the trajectories of postconcussive symptoms in 400 concussed children in the critical first year after their concussions.

Reuter-Rice has chaired the North Carolina Brain Injury Advisory Council’s Children and Youth Committee since 2019. Comprising government, policy, advocacy, and health agencies representatives, the Children and Youth Committee focuses on the welfare of the state’s children and youth with brain injuries, develops initiatives to reduce brain injury risks and educates stakeholders in policies and legislation. On March 3, Reuter-Rice, in her capacity as chair, participated in Congressional Brain Injury Awareness Hill Day, which was held virtually. The annual event provides an opportunity for the brain injury community to advocate for state and national funding to improve services, such as post-brain injury programs, in order to improve health and quality of life for patients and their families.

Reuter-Rice, who also uses her research and clinical expertise as a faculty member in the Duke University School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Critical Care, and Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, invites others to join the Brain Injury Association of America's #MoreThanMyBrainInjury Campaign.

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