A new center grant recently was awarded to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to create a system to evaluate home and community-based services. The grant — with funding of $4.4 million over five years — started on Sep. 1 and is through the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
According to principal investigator Allen Heinemann, director, Center for Rehabilitation Outcomes Research, center grants are important research tools because they guarantee funding over time.
"This is a big deal because center grants are few and far between," Dr. Heinemann said. "Getting nearly $1 million a year for five years allows you to do a good amount of work."
The goal of the project is to help the federal government determine the best way to measure the effectiveness of various home and community-based services throughout the country.
This grant help us move toward a common language of outcomes.Allen Heinemann, Director, Center for Rehabilitation Outcomes Research
"While every state does its own thing in terms of programming and funding, it's hard for them to know if they're getting bang for their buck," said Dr. Heinemann. "This grant help us move toward a common language of outcomes in these services."
The center grant will comprise several elements, including research into existing outcome measures of services, defining needed competencies to train staff, implementing interventions to enhance services and a knowledge-transfer component that includes webinars and other training activities.
"This will improve the lives of the people that Shirley Ryan AbilityLab serves — as our inpatients are discharged and become outpatients, they need services to live and thrive in their communities." Dr. Heinemann said.