Aunique home-based, family-centered model of rehabilitation could transform the paradigm of care for the estimated 5.3 million individuals living with traumatic brain injury and their families. That’s what Villanova-based researchers Helene Moriarty ’77 BSN, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Laraine Winter, PhD, will explore as principal investigators for a study called HOME for Us (Home-based Occupational-therapy and Management of the Environment; R01NR018655).

Women putting a comforting arm around a man who's holding his head looking down


Funded by a five-year, $3.3 million grant from the National Institute for Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health, the study offers hope for patients who often experience debilitating symptoms, such as impaired memory and planning, an inability to focus, and difficulty managing their emotions, for years after their rehabilitation has ended.

Dr. Moriarty, the Diane and Robert Moritz Jr. Endowed Chair in Nursing Research in Villanova’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, also serves as nurse scientist at Philadelphia’s Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, where Dr. Winter, a senior research associate for the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, is a research psychologist. That’s where these two leading TBI rehabilitation researchers collaborated on a previous NIH-funded randomized controlled trial (R21HD068857) of the Veterans’ In-Home Program (VIP). In the eight-session intervention, occupational therapists went into the homes of veterans struggling with chronic TBI symptoms. They worked on strategies to help veterans and family members manage TBI symptoms.

VIP is the first evidence-based intervention to show benefits for both veterans with TBI and their families. VIP significantly increased veterans' community reintegration and ability to manage their TBI-related problems. Family members experienced significantly lower depressive symptoms and caregiver burden.

The HOME study will expand on the VIP study by including both veterans and civilians—220 patient/family member pairs in total. “We hope this study will provide more evidence to support rehabilitation for patients and families in the chronic phase of TBI,” Dr. Winter says. “Improving the fit between patients' capabilities and their physical and social environment is key to enhancing their well-being and helping them thrive in their communities.”

VIP and HOME were designed to engage family members as integral partners in the rehabilitation of persons with TBI. Findings have the potential to change the paradigm of TBI care to more systematically involve families of persons with chronic TBI.”

Helene Moriarty ’77 BSN, PhD,