The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR) recently awarded the 2021 $100,000 Paris Patla Physical Therapy Research Grant to Sarah Blanton, PT, DPT. Blanton, a Professor at Emory University’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, works with stroke survivors and their carepartners to integrate the family into rehabilitation and improve stroke outcomes.
Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in the US. Much more is needed to be known about the effect on carepartners and their role in recovery. The new, web-based carepartner-focused intervention that Blanton is studying will foster problem-solving and skill-building for carepartners in the hopes of better outcomes during gait rehabilitation in the home setting.
“Reflecting on my own role as a carepartner for my father after his stroke, I noticed that even though I was a PT, I had not sufficiently taken into account the broader goals of my family when I was guiding his care,” said Blanton. “It was really only after we had collaboratively developed family-centered goals that he began to make strides in his independence back into community mobility and participation. Those lessons help me re-evaluate my clinical and research focus and understand how this approach may have a broader impact in stroke rehabilitation.”
As a rehabilitation researcher with 30 years of experience in stroke rehabilitation, Blanton would like to develop more holistic, family-centered telerehabilitation during the stroke recovery process. These interventions could support better patient adherence and self-management during the recovery process.
“The valuable data and lessons gained from this innovative and high-impact work will inform future implementation for a larger-scale clinical trial,” said Blanton. “It will also provide new insights regarding the role of carepartner-engagement in promoting sustainable improvements in walking-related function, overall health, and wellness in stroke survivors and their carepartners that translate beyond the research laboratory or clinic to the home and community settings.”
Her study, “Evaluation of a Carepartner-Integrated Telehealth Gait Rehabilitation Program for Persons with Stroke,” is made possible by the Paris Patla Endowment Fund. Dr. Trisha Kesar is working alongside Blanton as Co-Investigator on this project.