TBI rehab center opens in Europe

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The first center offering comprehensive care for European-based mild Traumatic Brain Injury patients celebrated its grand opening recently at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

"After two years and $1.5 million, we now have what we think will be one of the premiere military medical TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) centers providing comprehensive, innovative medical care for patients with mild TBI," the acting Landstuhl Regional Medical Center commander, Col. Jeffrey Lawson, said before cutting a yellow ribbon signifying the official opening of the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center.

The center is staffed with 32 military and civilian employees covering medical disciplines that include neurology, optometry, audiology, physical therapy, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, psychology and nurse case managers.

TBI treatment has previously been available at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and its outlying health clinics for service members, family members and DoD civilians, but now for the first time a team of medical specialists has been united in one building to facilitate their care.

For patients needing care beyond the scope of their local health clinic, they can travel to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for more intensive treatment which includes the Synapse Program, a four-week in-resident program.

For local outpatients and patients from downrange receiving short-term care for TBI, the center eliminates the need for patients with headaches, balance problems and other symptoms of TBI from having to navigate treatment at individual clinics in the medical center.

Patients will benefit from the new center, but TBI practitioners at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center have benefited as well from their patients, Maj. Shawna Scully, chief of Neurology at the center, said.

"The best true educator and professor that any of us working in TBI have ever had were our patients," Scully said during the opening ceremony.

Adding, "They taught us, they explained, they were patient, which is amazing given what they were going through – chronic pain, sleep deprivation and a brain that just wasn’t processing quite right. Every single thing you see in here is because they told us: ‘X is wrong, and I need you to build something to fix it.’ This is truly why this center is here."

"I think we are lucky to have such a great facility here providing significant contributions to our effort to learn about the signature wound of this war," Lawson said. "This is a great facility, and I know we will do great things for our patients."