The overarching goal of the BADER Consortium was to work in concert with four Department of Defense Medical Treatment Facilities to strengthen and support evidence-based orthopaedic rehabilitation care that results in optimal functional outcomes for each wounded warrior.
The BADER Consortium asked the question “how do you sustain and advance the work of researchers and clinicians at medical treatment facilities when they may not have the entire infrastructure needed to conduct the clinical trials independently?” The solution was to focus on those sites and individuals at those sites to help them advance efforts essential to their mission.
The BADER Consortium established a working network that assisted its military, Veterans Administration and civilian partner sites to perform the research necessary to enhance their patient care services. The Consortium was not about just conducting research projects; it’s central focus was on returning injured service members to their optimal levels of performance. Multi-disciplinary teams of researchers and clinicians at the sites identified rehabilitation challenges and the research projects emerged naturally.
Overall, the teams investigated how to turn barriers and limitations into opportunities and even advantages. In some cases that meant developing and testing exciting new prosthetic technologies, such as a robotic type of prosthetic or an ankle foot system. In other instances, it meant helping patients understand that their bodies could adapt and use balance-controlling mechanisms or running skills, that they could learn how to run in an optimal way. In all cases, the research projects required careful measurement of the contribution of the technology or the learned movement pattern and assessment of how important it is to the person’s function, as well as to predicting what the theoretical limits of the person’s function might be.