By On November 9th, 2012

Mayo Clinic Hopes To Bring TBI Care To Rural Areas

The road back from a traumatic brain injury is long, and frustrating. Recovery can involve physical and cognitive problems that linger for months or years. In some rare instances, they can even linger for life. I know this first hand.

After a “minor” concussion in March of this year, I faced serious issues with memory loss, and general confusion for months, as well as incredible sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises. Around June, nearly all of these symptoms had cleared, but to this day I still deal with increased light sensitivity at night which hampers my ability to drive after the sun has gone down.

I was lucky though, because I received great care from very qualified doctors in Chicago, where I was at the time. For those living in rural areas, traumatic brain injuries can be even more problematic because they lack access to brain rehabilitation specialists.

Because of this, the Mayo Clinic, and collaborators that include the Departments of Health in Minnesota and Iowa, Regional Health in South Dakota and Sanford Health in North Dakota, have received a $2.2 million federal grant so that new ways to provide specialized TBI care in rural or underserved urban population can be tested.

Mayo Clinic physiatrist Allen Brown, M.D., and Director of Brain Rehabilitation Research spoke about the grant, saying, “Our goal is to test a model of care that delivers specialized brain rehabilitation resources to patients and providers in underserved locations. We believe this is the first study of this scope — four states, three health systems and two state departments of health — using electronic technology to improve care with no face-to-face contact.”

He continued, “In the upper Midwest, rural dwellers, the elderly and Native Americans have a high risk for TBI and are more likely to become isolated after acute care because of their impairment, distance from services, and financial concerns. The trial will test whether outcomes over three years are better in the group receiving this model of care compared to a group that receives usual care in their communities.”

Hopefully this new grant will help establish a network of care for those who don’t live in middle or upper-class areas of big cities. Care for dangerous injuries should be available to everyone, and it is clear TBI is the worst kind of dangerous. Brain injuries are often not fatal, but are often debilitating for long periods, where the patient can become isolated and left without any clue how to handle their condition.


2 Responses

  1. Cindy Borg says:

    My now 27 year old daughter is a 12 year survivor of a TBI she received in a MVA. It has been 12 years of hell and she seems to be now getting worse. She is a single mom of a 4 and 8 year old and is becoming unable to take care of them. She faces eviction from her apartment in the near future as she lives in clutter and chaos. We live in South Dakota. Is there any way you can help or point me to help?

    • Leo Mendoza says:

      Stare with your local medical center and see what they offer for their TBI patients as far as support groups. Google TBI and TBI/ABI Support Groups for your state, it should give local state organizations and they should have links to their support groups which happen to be free for those who have a brain injury and their families and/or caregivers. It would be of a great benefit to speak with others who have the same problems as you are, you would be surprised! Each brain injury is different but some of the results of the brain change and recoveries can be the same. Their feedback will be very beneficial for you and your daughter. Try speaking to the landlord and let that person understand that you are sorry that your daughters brain injury has made her late with her rent. Question: Why was she late? Is she not on disability with Social Security? Does she need reminders for paying her bills on time? Unfortunately memory problems are common amongst us TBI Survivors. I took the liberty of Googleling “South Dakota TBI Support Groups” this link list what it found https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=south%20dakota%20brain%20injury%20support%20groups&oq=&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43828540,d.b2U&fp=215b867584c2f4a4&biw=1366&bih=607&pf=p&pdl=300
      Plead with your daughters landlord to please hold off as far as assistance, call your local Red Cross and see if they offer some help. Check with your local church as well.
      I have had to learn to live of my SSI, it was quite a change from the 3 grand I used to make a month. Pardon me for saying, but after 12 years your daughter should have adapted to her new life as a TBI survivor. If she is still struggling living life as a TBI Survivor point her to Facebook, you will find various support groups on Facebook if you type up TBI, brain injury and look up “Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors”, its a private group I personally am apart of and in the 3 years of living my new TBI life, this group has helped me out tremendously. Good luck my friend, I hope you find the assistance you need. I you need moral support or anything else, please look me up on Facebook, Leo TBI Survivor Mendoza. Take care ma’am and God bless.

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