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
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