Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Care Coordinator Links Service Members with TBI Support

By Karyn George, national manager, Office of Care Coordination, Defense & Veterans Brain Injury Center

After service members have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), they may not know where to go or what to do to find services that address the residual symptoms of their injuries. As a regional care coordinator who works frequently with active-duty service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, I find it very satisfying when I can link a service member with services that they didn’t know existed.

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) Regional Care Coordination Program was developed as a support and resource for active-duty service members and veterans as they transition through the recovery stages after a traumatic brain injury. The program specifically seeks to identify service members, and in particular members of the Reserves or National Guard who may return to remote areas that lack the resources, whether within the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs or civilian health care systems.

DVBIC regional care coordinators are located throughout the United States including all four Department of Veterans Affairs polytrauma facilities, some of the larger military treatment facilities and at two civilian sites. Coordinators conduct intakes and follow-ups with service members and veterans who are symptomatic after a diagnosis of mild, moderate or severe TBI at three-month, six-month, 12-month and 24-month intervals via telephone or in-person. To ensure service members, veterans and their families have access to appropriate medical care, support and available resources throughout the recovery process, follow-up schedules can be adjusted to contact service members and veterans more or less frequently as needed.

I find it very rewarding to answer questions, provide customized information, and to hear how service members are progressing positively and adapting even if things didn’t turn out as they planned. In general, service members are very courageous and resilient, and I’ve learned a great deal from our interactions.

For more information about DVBIC Regional Care Coordination Program locations and points of contact for each region, check out or call 800.870.9244.

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