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National Rehabilitation Hospital Team to Work with US Army to Improve Rehab Care for Wounded Soldiers

Early Detection of Brain Injury Is Key

WASHINGTON, June 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A team of professionals from National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) will fly to Germany on Saturday to work with the US Army's Europe Regional Medical Command (ERMC), in assessing their current rehabilitation practices. They will also make recommendations for improving the quality and delivery of care given to injured soldiers and other military personnel in need of rehabilitation services. The ERMC operates 15 ambulatory care centers in Germany which are the initial treatment sites for injured soldiers from Iraq. These ambulatory centers not only diagnose and provide treatment, but they determine the location of ongoing care for those soldiers wounded overseas.

"NRH has a long history of working with the US Military," notes NRH President and CEO Edward A. Eckenhoff. "We are proud to share more than two decades of outpatient rehabilitation expertise with the Army's ambulatory centers in Germany, especially as they are critical to the care of those injured in Iraq."

The Army's contract with NRH is in response to a determination by the Office of the Surgeon General that the current rehabilitative care delivery systems may not be adequately prepared to sustain the high volume of war casualties and the recovery required to ensure that members of the military are able to return to duty or separate and continue to lead productive lives.

Dr. Michael Yochelson, head of NRH's Brain Injury Program says there is a special need for early detection and treatment of brain injuries coming out of the Iraq conflict. "Current estimates show that approximately 18 to 20 percent of deployed service members sustain a traumatic brain injury. We know that the majority of these patients have not received a formal medical evaluation to assess for a brain injury or to determine the service member's needs as a result."

During the team's two week stay in Germany, they will assess the current practices and results of care that exist presently, traveling to a majority of the ERMC locations. Together, the NRH team brings over 80 years of experience in PTSD, traumatic brain injury, injury prevention, clinical rehabilitation and rehab management. The team will look at selected "best practices" that may exist at particular sites and share these best practices between locations. In addition, they will develop benchmarking opportunities to measure sites against and make recommendations, where applicable, to improve the existing models of care delivery and related support processes. "All of this," says team leader John Brickley, head of NRH's outpatient network, "will help us achieve our goal of providing the Army with recommendations to improve the rehabilitation care for our injured soldiers, in particular, and help to maximize their recovery, promote safe return to maximum function, and improve their quality of life."

The NRH Team

Jill Anderson, PT: Jill is a Regional Director in the NRH Medical Rehabilitation Network and currently oversees seven outpatient centers throughout the state of Maryland. She graduated with a BS in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College and a Masters in Administrative Science from Johns Hopkins University. She began her career as a staff therapist on an inpatient comprehensive unit treating acute cerebral vascular accidents, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, amputees and other neurological conditions.

Joseph Bleiberg: Ph.D. Psychology, Boston University, 1976; Diplomate, American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, 1984. Dr. Bleiberg is a Senior Fellow at NRH and before that was Director of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Christoph Ruesch Research Center at NRH, and is a Clinical Associate Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Department of Neurology. Prior to joining the Research Center at NRH, Dr. Bleiberg was the Director of Psychology and Program Director of the Brain Injury Program at NRH (1985-2000), and held similar positions at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (1979-1985). Dr. Bleiberg has extensive publications in brain injury rehabilitation, with recent emphasis on computerized neuropsychological assessment to identify subtle residua of mild brain injury and disease. He is one of the developers of ANAM, currently used by DoD for predeployment testing. Recent publications have covered the neurocognitive effects of traumatic brain injury, migraine, lupus, and CVA. He has been on many DoD expert panels and review committees, including the DVBIC panel that developed guidelines for management of TBI in theatre, and the Health Affairs panel for predeployment cognitive screening.

John Brickley, PT, MA: John is Vice President at NRH for Ambulatory Services, which includes 40 outpatient sites, under the banner of NRH Regional Rehab, located in Washington, D.C., Suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. NRH Regional Rehab provides outpatient services for all patient populations except comprehensive pediatrics. John received his BA in Physical Therapy and an MA in Management with an emphasis on health care from the College of St. Scholastica, in Duluth, Minnesota. His clinical areas of focus include work injury prevention, work injury management and rehabilitation services directed at those patient populations with orthopedic/musculoskeletal injuries or disorders. John has taught in multiple continuing education courses in the areas of work injury prevention and management, as well as on developing creative models of care in the changing health care environment.

Virginia Walls, PT, MS, NCS, ATP: Ginger is the Regional Director of the outpatient center located within the hospital as well as the NRH Regional Rehab outpatient center in Mitchellville, Md. She is also the NRH Regional Rehab Neuro Program Specialist and the former Chair and Vice Chair of the Spinal Cord Injury Special Interest Group of the Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Assoc (APTA). She holds a physical therapy degree and MS from Springfield College. She received her certification as a Neurologic Clinical Specialist from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 1995 and was recertified in 2005. She received her certification as an Assistive Technology Practitioner from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America in 2001 and maintains this current certification. She has taught multiple continuing education courses in the area of wheelchair seating and mobility. She has published articles in PT Magazine and Neurology Report, and authored the PT chapter in Managing Post Polio: A Guide to Living Well with Post Polio Syndrome.

National Rehabilitation Hospital

National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) is a private, not-for-profit facility located in Northwest Washington, D.C. NRH's services are designed specifically for the rehabilitation of individuals with disabling injuries and illnesses such as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury and disease, arthritis, amputations, post-polio syndrome, chronic pain, back and neck pain, occupational injuries, cancer and cardiac disease that require medical rehabilitation, and other neurological and orthopedic conditions. Annually, NRH admits approximately 2,200 inpatients and provides nearly 350,000 ambulatory visits at 40 NRH Regional Rehab outpatient sites located in Washington, D.C., Suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. Over the course of 21 years, NRH has admitted in excess of 35,000 inpatients and provided over 2 million outpatient visits. NRH has 128 adult beds as well as 9 pediatric beds in the National Center for Children's Rehabilitation at NRH, a joint service of NRH and Children's National Medical Center. NRH is the youngest medical rehabilitation hospital to be consistently ranked in the Top 10 by physicians in the annual "America's Best Hospitals" edition of U.S. News & World Report.

SOURCE National Rehabilitation Hospital
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