Role of Physiotherapy in Ugandan Neurosurgical Transitional Care (2021-2022)

Duke Global Neurosurgery and Neurology (DGNN) and Ugandan healthcare partners have utilized health systems strengthening to expand neurosurgical capacity in Uganda. Postoperative patients often require rehabilitation services to optimize function, manage disability, educate caregivers and reduce adverse events. Therefore, improving neurosurgical capacity demands rehabilitation sector strengthening. 

A key area for early collaboration and strengthening is transitional care. Utilizing physiotherapy in transitional care can reduce readmission rates as much as 25 percent for surgical patients through discharge planning and patient education. This project team investigated current care transitions for Ugandan neurosurgical patients and the role of physiotherapy in these transitions. Team members used a mixed-methods approach consisting of survey implementation and semistructured interviews. 

Team members described the current discharge practice, such as the roles of healthcare providers in discharge, factors for discharge and care instructions and examined physiotherapy utilization, assessing the perceptions of healthcare providers on the role and scope of physiotherapy in transitional care and existing barriers to physiotherapy. 

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video.


Fall 2021 – Summer 2022

Team Outputs

Paths to Recovery for Ugandan Neurotrauma Patients (2022 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Role of Ugandan Neurorehabilitation Services in Acute Hospital Discharge for Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury: A Mixed-Methods Study (poster by Hsien Yao Chee, Nikhita Mahendru, Shivani Surati, Vignesh Pirapaharan, Shashank Vege, Night Atwongyeire, Gift Atuhaire, Peyton Thompson, Anna Maria Ssewanyana, Hannah Kitakule, Derrick Asiimwe, Denis Nareeba, Acelo Worku, Spandan Goel, Jeffrey Hoder, Kearsley Stewart, Wilfred Arubaku, Jean Damascene Niyonsenga, Tony Fuller and Kira Battle, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 13, 2022)

This Team in the News

Graduate and Professional Student Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2023

Meet the Members of the 2022-2023 Student Advisory Council

Meet the Winners of the 2022 Bass Connections Student Research Awards

Meet the Members of the 2021-2022 Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

See related team, Role of Physiotherapy in Ugandan Neurosurgical Transitional Care (2022-2023).


Image: Mulago National Referral Hospital Physiotherapy Department, by Richard Kasiita, courtesy of Kira Battle

Mulago National Referral Hospital Physiotherapy Department.

Team Leaders

  • Kira Battle Bullock, School of Medicine-Neurosurgery
  • Anthony Fuller, School of Medicine-Neurosurgery
  • Damascene Niyonsenga, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)

/graduate Team Members

  • Shivani Surati, Global Health - MSc

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Hannah Kitakule, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Acelo Worku, Biology (BS)
  • Audra Whithaus, Psychology (BS)
  • Venkat Vege, Chemistry (BS)
  • Peyton Thompson, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Vignesh Pirapaharan, Biology (BS)
  • Nikhita Mahendru, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Spandan Goel, Psychology (BS)
  • Hsien-Yao Chee, DKU Interdisciplinary Studies (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Kearsley Stewart, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Jeffrey Hoder, School of Medicine-Family Medicine and Community Health: Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Timothy Dunn, School of Medicine-Neurosurgery

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Wilfred Arubaku, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)
  • Herman Kazibwe, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)
  • Richard Kasiita, Mulago National Referral Hospital (MNRH)
  • Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH)