Dallas VA opens new suite for wounded Veterans - VA North Texas Health Care System
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Dallas VA opens new suite for wounded Veterans

Group of people cutting a red ribbon

VA North Texas Health Care System leadership, Veterans and congressional staffers stand together to cut the red ribbon on the new Polytrauma Suite at Dallas VA Medical Center.

By Erikka D. Neroes
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

North Texas Veterans with multiple injuries now have a single location for treatment and recovery. A ribbon cutting ceremony marked the official opening of the Polytrauma Suite at Dallas VA Medical Center. The event provided an inside look at what Polytrauma is and what services are available for Veterans.

By some accounts, it’s invisible scars or unseen wounds. For others, it's clearly recognizable. Polytrauma, simply put, means the presence of more than one injury. Polytrauma is multiple complex injuries that cause physical, cognitive, psychological, and social impairments and functional disabilities. Common injuries in blast-related polytrauma include open wounds, traumatic amputations, spinal injuries, eye conditions, musculoskeletal system disorders, psychiatric problems, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The Polytrauma team at VA North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) provides a full range of medical and support services, and is interdisciplinary consisting of physicians, social workers, neuropsychologists, nurse case manager, blind rehabilitation specialist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, recreational therapist, prosthetist, and other disciplines. Other services include neuro rehabilitation, cognitive rehabilitation, state-of-the-art prosthetics, visual rehabilitation, psychological services, physical and vocational rehabilitation, recreational therapy, and on-going case management.

"It's always exciting when we are able to increase access and enhance services for our Veterans," said Jeffery Milligan, Director, VANTHCS. "Our patient population continues to grow and we stand ready to meet their needs."

VANTHCS serves more than 14,000 Veterans with Polytrauma annually, including men and women from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Once located in a four-room suite, the Polytrauma team worked diligently and patiently to meet Veterans' needs. Veterans can now benefit from the full spectrum of care offered in a more comfortable, patient-centered environment. The $6 million project was well worth the investment, and certainly worth the wait.

"We've had capabilities to provide high quality care for Veterans with Polytrauma and TBI," said Richard Robinson, MD, Medical Director of TBI/Polytrauma. "With the opening of the new suite, our efforts have ramped up to provide that care in a more patient-centered atmosphere to enhance the treatment and recovery process."

Features of the new suite include:

  • physical and occupational therapy assessment and training for amputees
  • vision and balance assessment and treatment
  • separate treatment room for biofeedback and relaxation training
  • TBI day program and support group
  • clinical video telehealth services for Veterans in rural areas
  • same day assessments for Veterans from the post-deployment clinic

Polytrauma treatment and recovery is serious business, but adding fun elements to the space was an important component of the new design. Fresh colors, upscale furnishings, and custom contemporary artwork were selected for a modern appeal. Local companies and artists contributed giant photographic murals and sculptures. Artwork can be seen throughout the suite that reflects historical and iconic Dallas landmarks. Public areas of the suite include a coffee bar, internet access, and a play area for Veterans with children.

All these features combined make for a patient and family friendly suite where Veterans can feel safe and comfortable. All of which are vital to the treatment and recovery process.

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