ENCINITAS, Calif., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A brain injury rehabilitation program for active-duty military personnel -- many of whom sustained their injuries in Iraq from improvised explosive devices, or IEDs -- has proved to be a successful treatment model as it turns one year old this summer. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070807/LATU015 ) Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton have teamed to develop an outpatient day treatment program that meets the recovery needs of combat-injured military patients with closed brain injuries. The program is geared toward helping troops rehabilitate so they can achieve their individual goals, whether it's returning to full-time, active-duty status, or assimilating to the private sector. Of the 31 patients who have completed the program to date, 22 have returned to full-time duty. Other patients who have completed the program are pursuing an education or career outside of the military. Housed on the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, the program continues to accept new military patients. The partnership is believed to be the nation's only "full-service" outsourced program between the military and a private health care provider that treats closed-brain injuries of active-duty military patients on an outpatient basis. Patients in the Scripps program have access to a wide range of specialists not readily available at other programs, including physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, neurologists, psychiatrists and other specialists. "Blast-related brain injuries have become the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Michael Lobatz, M.D., chief of staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. "This program is an example of how community hospitals can help fill the gaps by providing specialized care where the military may not have the capacity or particular expertise." The Scripps program includes specialized activities such as military-style calisthenics, martial arts, boxing, jogging, memory exercises with military terminology and video games. While details vary, patients generally will attend therapy for six hours a day, three to four days a week, for three months or longer. U.S. troops are initially screened by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center upon their return from combat overseas and are authorized for treatment by their military physician. Lance Cpl. Wilson Otero of Camp Pendleton entered the Scripps program after suffering a traumatic brain injury from a roadside bomb explosion while he provided security for convoys in Iraq. As a result of his injury, he has experienced migraine headaches, sleep disturbances and partial loss of feeling in his extremities. After months of intensive occupational, physical and speech therapy sessions, Otero says he's noticed progress. "The pain is getting under control," said Otero, who is making plans for life outside the military. "I'm planning to get out and use my brain to go to school." Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a non-profit community health system based in San Diego, Calif.
SOURCE Scripps Health