Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

William F. Connell School of Nursing

Ph.D. student receives honor from ENRS

Connell News


Rachel DiFazio, a Ph.D. candidate in the Connell School of Nursing, won the 2012 Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science Dissertation Award.

DiFazio was honored for her research titled “Patient Centered Outcomes of Orthopaedic Surgery in Children with Cerebral Palsy.View the abstract below.

The ENRS committee felt that her work was meritorious and presented her with the award at the ENRS 24th Annual Scientific Sessions


Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of childhood physical disability with an incidence between 2 and 2.5 per 1,000 live births.  CP is a group of disorders of the development of movement and posture. The physical disabilities seen in children with CP can range from mild to severe. In children with severe CP, the motor disorders are often accompanied by intellectual delays, communication and speech delays, seizures, impaired vision and hearing, gastro-esophageal reflux, and disturbances of sensation and perception. CP is caused by a non-progressive lesion in the brain, yet many of the clinical manifestations including the musculoskeletal disorders are progressive and change over time. Children with severe non-ambulatory CP develop hip dislocations and neuromuscular scoliosis and frequently undergo extensive orthopaedic surgical interventions to prevent progression of the deformity, improve the child’s health related quality of life (HRQOL) and functional ability, and to facilitate caregiving. Although these surgeries are performed frequently, little is known about the patient-centered outcomes and the family financial burden associated with the child’s hospitalization. Surgical interventions and post-operative care are costly, resource intensive and not without complications. Surgical decision making should be based on sound outcomes research that not only takes into consideration the physical and radiographic changes following surgery, but also the patient-centered outcomes of the surgery including HRQOL, functional status, caregiver impact and financial burden.  Currently, this information does not exist.  Therefore, the results of this study will begin to determine if and how extensive orthopaedic surgical interventions make a meaningful contribution to the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and functional ability of children with severe non-ambulatory CP and their caregivers in light of the financial burden of hospitalization.