Government and Regulations

Polytrauma System of Care Reaches Milestone

Through tools and resources, the VA’s Polytrauma System of Care reaches its million veteran milestone.


 

Since 2005, 1 million veterans have been screened for traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the VA’s Polytrauma System of Care (PSC).

Related: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in a VA Polytrauma Clinic

The 1 million milestone “reflects [the] VA’s success in building an integrated polytrauma care program,” says VA Under Secretary for Health David Shulkin, MD. The PSC was created to address the need for a multidisciplinary system of care for veterans who have 2 or more disabling physical, cognitive, functional, or psychological impairments.

The VA has 110 polytrauma rehabilitation sites that offer comprehensive inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation. Services include interdisciplinary evaluation and treatment, development of a comprehensive plan of care, case management, patient and family education, psychosocial support, and use of advanced rehabilitation treatments and prosthetic technologies. 

Related: TBI Biomarker Development on the Horizon

Another tool that supports clinical TBI care is the mobile phone application, Concussion Coach. The app provides a self-assessment tool for measuring symptoms, including feedback and a symptom tracker; relaxation exercises and other coping tips; and immediate access to crisis resources, personal support contacts, or professional health care resources.

Related: Stopping TBI-Related Brain Degeneration

All veterans are screened for possible TBI with a 4-question test. Those with a positive screen are referred to a TBI specialist for a Comprehensive TBI Evaluation, but specialists are often located at VA medical centers that not all veterans can easily reach. Therefore, the Office of Health Care Transformation funded a project to develop a standardized Comprehensive TBI Evaluation protocol delivered via telehealth technology. In 2013, a pilot project began at 16 sites; more than 40 sites have since been trained.

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