Treating Military Members with Traumatic Brain Injury
LEARN ABOUT MILITARY CULTURE
Civilian health care providers should research the experiences and exposures U.S. service members and veterans face to recognize the connection between certain health effects and military service. They should become familiar with military culture, including military ranks and the difference between National Guard and reserve members.
Cultural norms include high standard of discipline, professional ethics of loyalty and self-sacrifice, distinct ceremonial and etiquette requirements and an emphasis on group cohesion and loyalty that connects service members to one another.
These cultural basics may challenge the returning service members with a Traumatic Brain Injuries — especially when compounded by everyday stressors from their civilian lives. The cultural shock of leaving the discipline and cohesiveness of the military for the perceived chaos in the civilian world may be difficult. Yet, the benefits of military training long outweigh those temporary adjustments.
• TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. It is an external force, like a blast wave from an IED, that affects the brain.
• TBI can happen to anyone, whether it happens while playing sports, at work, or slipping on an icy sidewalk. Injuries can range from “mild” to “severe,” with a majority of cases being mild TBI, also known as concussion. The good news is that most cases are treatable and there are several ways to help prevent injury.
• Common symptoms of a brain injury include headaches, dizziness, attention and memory problems, fatigue, irritability, vision changes, balance problems, mood changes and sleep difficulty.
• Most patients who experience a concussion recover fully within weeks, but some may continue to have symptoms for a longer period of time. Patients with chronic symptoms of concussion should get evaluated for other medical problems to include psychological concerns.
• The cause of prolonged symptoms following concussion continues to be explored. Possible causes include: psychological health conditions, physiological changes to the brain, ability to manage stress, pre-existing health conditions or co-occurring injuries or illnesses.
For health care providers, employers, community leaders and family members:
• Help the military members stay focused on their courses of treatment.
• Help service members identify, prioritize and take action to address their concerns.
• Serve as a liaison between the patient and health care professional reduce the likelihood of future problems.
• Inform the patient about possible symptoms and explain and assist with the path to recovery.
• Mental rest and physical rest are important aspects of recovery early on, as well as avoiding further injury.
• A Gradual return to work, school, and exercise are necessary for continued recovery.
**Information available @ website below**
Resurrecting Lives Foundation – 2016 Employment Initiative: “INVEST in VETS” Program
Providing employment for our returning heroes with TBI with employers interested in a long term commitments and opportunities for advancement, education, and growth.
Resurrect a HERO – Strengthen a Nation
1. 2.7 million men and women have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 13 years, and it is estimated that nearly 450,000 suffer from mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a result of their service. Rand Corporation predicts TBI in 20 % of our military. www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9336/index1.html
2. TBI is manifested by memory problems, processing difficulties, and, at times, difficulty learning new information without proper training. However, the treatment through cognitive retraining and vocational initiatives utilizing military discipline and skills will retrain the brain for civilian employment. – In these young brains, retraining is key, and connecting the hero with TBI with an employer willing to take a few extra weeks of training, is, our 2016 mission. Employment is key to resurrecting these warriors.
3. Unemployment rates among our heroes remain high, higher than the non-veteran, or, around 9% for post 9/11 Veterans. www.adn.com/2014/03/20/3384751/higher-jobless-rates-for-iraq.html
4. More Discharges with military draw down will increase the need for employment.
5. Our mission in 2016 is to connect our heroes with mTBI to an employer with positions matching the Veterans skills and aptitudes and to continue the long term relationship for reintegration and advancement.
6. We will enlighten employers of the many benefits in employing Veterans.
7. We will seek to provide employment for heroes and their families by starting a model in OHIO which can be replicated throughout the nation. We will partner with national companies with the opportunities of hiring men/women of multiple skill sets.
WON’T YOU JOIN US?
Resurrect a Hero – Strengthen YOUR company.
Chrisanne Gordon, MD Founder and Executive Director Resurrecting Lives Foundation
Resurrecting Lives Foundation is proud to be a GuideStar Exchange Member