VA beefs up training for, awareness of brain injuries
Since traumatic brain injuries seem to be so prevalent due to the nature of the war in Iraq, how is the Department of Veterans Affairs dealing with the treatment of these injuries?
Answer: VA first established four comprehensive TBI Lead Centers in 1992. TBI is often part of a complex pattern of injuries, referred to as "polytrauma." These injuries include amputations, hearing and vision impairment and other complicated injuries. VA responded to the polytrauma needs by establishing the polytrauma system of care and designated four TBI Lead Centers as polytrauma rehabilitation centers. In response to concerns about diagnosing and treating TBI among new combat veterans, a mandatory systemwide TBI screening of active duty and veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan has been implemented. VA is also taking steps to raise awareness of TBI issues within VA and to train primary care, mental health, and rehabilitation care providers through several initiatives: mandatory completion of web based independent study course; VA sponsored national and regional conferences on TBI and polytrauma; five satellite broadcasts on polytrauma and TBI and other initiatives.
Q: I heard the VA can make available a specially adapted housing grant. Can you provide more information on what this is about?
A: Veterans that have specific service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a grant from the VA for the purpose of constructing an adapted dwelling or modifying an existing home to meet the veteran's needs. These are severe disabilities such as the loss or loss of use of both lower and upper extremities. The goal of the Specially Adapted Housing Program is to provide a barrier-free living environment that affords the veterans a level of independent living he or she may not normally enjoy. For more grant information, go to: www.homeloans.va.gov/sah.htm.
The VA loan guaranty department can be reached at (800) 827-1000 option 2.
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.