West Suburbs Rehabilitation Research Studies

West Suburbs Rehabilitation Research Studies

Groundbreaking research at Northwestern Medicine Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital guides the clinical application of the latest and best possible rehabilitation practices.

Pediatric Brain Tumors

The purpose of this retrospective study is to document how children undergoing treatment for brain tumors present upon evaluation in the areas of speech and language production, cognitive-communication and dysphagia, and if children could achieve measurable changes in these areas with speech-language pathology intervention while undergoing treatment.

Principal Investigators: Elizabeth Mell, CCC-SLP, and Larissa Pavone, MD


A new study tests the acceptability, tolerability and safety of a 3D virtual reality device used for upper extremity rehabilitation after a stroke. This virtual reality device uses computer graphics and 3D technology to help patients immerse themselves in a virtual environment while completing rehabilitation exercises to improve their upper extremity function after stroke.

Principal Investigators: Mahesh V. Ramachandran, MD, and Dhruvil J. Pandya, MD

The purpose of this project is to observe the relationship between resiliency and functional recovery in patients who are stroke survivors. Using the Connor-David Resilience Scale 25, patients who are undergoing rehabilitation at Marianjoy will have their resilience assessed. Their functional outcome will be measured using a functional independent measure on discharge and stroke impact scale at 90 days.

Principal Investigators: Dhruvil Pandya, MD, and Taylor Stinnett, DO

A new study using an evidence-based, clinical assessment tool, PATH, to assess a caregiver’s perceived readiness before discharge following a loved one’s stroke. This study will also evaluate our interventions aimed to support the caregiver’s readiness for discharge, as well as possibly providing additional opportunities for readiness captured by using the PATH tool. This study will further support the care team through awareness of factors, which might predict or influence the patient’s discharge to community from the IRF level of care, to provide more tailored, effective and efficient education and training for the caregiver.

Principal Investigators: Jessica Raymond, MSN, RN

Swallowing Difficulties

Previous research has shown a relationship between increasing liquid bolus volume and risk for aspiration, as well as the effect of cup size, age and delivery method (cup vs. straw) on bolus volume. While different instructions or delivery methods may be used to assist the patient with successfully reducing bolus size to increase swallow safety, it is unknown if there are actual differences in how a patient may respond to the delivery method or to various verbal instruction. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of verbal instruction on bolus size.

Principal Investigators: Susan Brady, DHEd, CCC-SLP, BCS-S; Michael Pietrantoni, CCC-SLP, CBIS; Katie Cipriano, CCC-SLP; Sophia Bjerga, CCC-SLP