VA expands brain injury centers
I have heard a lot lately about Polytrauma Centers in relation to our wounded troops. Just what type of care do they provide?
Answer: Improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades often result in devastating injuries, including amputations, sensory loss and brain injury. In response to the demand for specialized services, the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded its four traumatic brain injury centers in Minneapolis, Minn.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Richmond, Va.; and Tampa, Fla., to become polytrauma centers. They will be expanded into a network of 21 polytrauma network sites and polytrauma clinic support teams around the country.
These centers treat traumatic brain injury alone or in combination with amputation, blindness or other visual impairment, complex orthopedic injuries, auditory and vestibular disorders and mental health concerns. The VA has added clinical expertise to address the special problems that the multitrauma combat-injured patient might face. This can include intensive psychological support for both patient and family, intensive case management, improvements in the treatment of vision problems and rehabilitation using the latest high-tech specialty prostheses.
Because brain injury is being recognized as the signature injury of the current conflict, the VA launched an educational initiative to provide its clinicians with a broad base of knowledge to identify potential traumatic brain injury patients, mechanisms for effective care and a better understanding of patients who experience this condition.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.