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Hampton Veterans Administration Medical Center

Hampton, VA

The primary function of our rehab team, the Polytrauma Support Clinical Team, is to serve Veterans who sustained complex injuries during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) deployments. Our team consists of a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, neuropsychologist, psychologist, nurse practitioner and social worker. We provide long-term care and case management on an ongoing basis for those Veterans who have sustained polytrauma injuries. We also provide comprehensive traumatic brain injury evaluations for those servicemen and women returning from combat and departing from Active Duty Services.

Our team is unique for a number of reasons. Because our team falls under the mental health/behavioral science service line, we are equipped to handle the comorbid symptoms that can occur between Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury. Our psychologist performs dual duties: he serves as the team coordinator and he diagnosis any interfering mental health issues that may affect the Veteran's progress and provides treatment and/or referrals as needed. Our neuropsychologist evaluates Veterans that require more extensive testing in order to identify specific areas where cognitive dysfunction is occurring.

Our nurse practitioner performs the second level TBI screenings and identifies health concerns and medications that may affect the Veteran's health and ability to reach maximum potential. Our social worker provides ongoing case management and mental health counseling to the Veterans. Our OT assesses the Veteran's basic motor function, in addition to identifying physical and mental problems that impact the Veteran's daily life and work environment. Our SLP assesses the Veteran's cognition, memory and speech and language functioning and provides treatment as appropriate.

Our OT and SLP often co-treat to ensure that our Veterans are safe with preparing meals and preforming other activities of daily living. Our therapists have made home visits to assess any environmental hazards and to ensure that our Veterans can perform all self-care tasks to include bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation and managing finances. Our therapists, social worker and nurse practitioner have developed educational groups including "Essential Skills for College Success" and "Building Self-Esteem and Peer Support" to help our Veterans with transitioning to civilian life.

Our team has developed an ongoing relationship with brain injury clubhouses to help our more moderate to severe brain injured Veterans reach their maximum potential with all activities of daily living. Our team meets weekly to review our Veterans progress, discuss new referrals and to make recommendations and referrals to other departments within the medical center. Our weekly team meetings have also been educational for the team members. Members have provided information about the latest cutting-edge technology for traumatic brain injury, in addition to inviting other departments to provide in-services such as dietary services and vocational rehabilitation so that we can better serve our Veterans.

Submitted by: Cynthia Speight, MS, speech-language pathologist

Team members:
Barbara Cross, PhD, nurse practitioner
Isis Espinosa, LCSW, social worker
Trinidad C Ladehoff, RN
Richard Mills, PhD, psychologist
David Powell, PsyD, neuropsychologist
Cynthia Speight, MS, speech-language pathologist
Tonya Swindell, MS, occupational therapist


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