The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center's (SCVMC) Rehabilitation Research Center (RRC) is dedicated to improving patient care by investigating innovative treatments, identifying and promoting factors associated with prevention and resilience, and understanding the continuum of care from acute care through community reintegration. Recently published research led by the Chair of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department (Dr. Crew) and Chief of the Respiratory Rehabilitation Unit (Dr. McKenna) has provided evidence for the benefits of specialized respiratory management, which include the use of high-volume ventilation, mechanical insufflation-exsufflation, and consideration for the use of theophylline in individuals with high cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). Clinical trials conducted at SCVMC should further inform future clinical practice by investigating the efficacy of stem cell treatment through the Asterias SCI study, acute administration of Riluzole in individuals with SCI through the RISCIS study, and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in individuals with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Beyond investigating innovated treatments, research led by the Chief of Outpatient PM&R (Dr. Shem) illustrates the feasibility, quality of care, and consumer satisfaction of telemedicine treatment of individuals with SCI using Apple's FaceTime. This telemedicine program may reduce the barriers to specialized care by reaching individuals in the comfort of their own home; by doing so increasing patients' independence to reach treatment. Furthermore, research investigating preventative care, such as the use of Vitamin D treatment for individuals with SCI, has shown to the reduced odds of developing venous thromboembolism. Work led by both the Chair (Dr. Crew) and Vice Chair (Dr. Duong) of the PM&R Department are investigating the seasonal and demographic effects of Vitamin D deficiency, which could inform treatment strategies for under-represented groups in research.
The RRC at SCVMC has a unique ability to investigate outcomes from acute care through initial inpatient rehabilitation onto discharge back into community. Additionally, the RRC continues to be a part of a national database that includes 25 years of longitudinal data for patients with TBI and SCI. Research from these databases elucidates the importance of care, and subsequently may reduce secondary complications that are commonly experienced when individuals reintegrate into the community. This unique commitment from a public hospital allows SCVMC to be a leader in providing care for individuals with spinal cord and brain injury.