TAMC promotes brain injury services, awareness

| March 29, 2013 | 0 Comments
Denby Fukuda Rall (right), chief of the Audiology Clinic, TAMC, assists Sgt. 1st Class David Paz in a general balance test during a Brain Injury Awareness Open House, March 21. Paz is wearing a pair of frenzel glasses, which are used during vestibular bedside testing to illuminate the eyes and suppress fixation.

Denby Fukuda Rall (right), chief of the Audiology Clinic, TAMC, assists Sgt. 1st Class David Paz in a general balance test during a Brain Injury Awareness Open House, March 21. Paz is wearing a pair of frenzel glasses, which are used during vestibular bedside testing to illuminate the eyes and suppress fixation.

 

Petty Officer 1st Class
Cynthia Clark
Defense Media Activity

HONOLULU — The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinic at Tripler Army Medical Center hosted an open house in honor of Brain Injury Awareness Month, March 21.

A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the function of the brain, which ranges from mild, medium to severe.

“It’s not a well-known problem,” said Dr. Sarah Miyahira, regional director for TBI clinics in the Pacific region. “We’re inviting patients, we’re inviting providers and we’re inviting anybody who’s interested. We want them to take a look at some of the demonstrations we’re having by various specialty clinics we have here that treat TBI.”

The clinic at TAMC does more than just treat these injuries; it provides a comprehensive and multifaceted program of treatment if a service or family member experiences a TBI.

“The clinic actually provides not just an evaluation or an assessment to determine a diagnosis,” Miyahira explained. “We have a whole panel of providers in specialty areas that can provide additional services, once we know what the symptoms are that people are experiencing, what the level of severity might be, whether or not they have a history of other concussions.”

The services offered by the Tripler TBI Clinic include occupational, speech and physical therapy; neurological services; ear, nose and throat consultations; case management; optometry; patient tracking; and patient and family education.

Miyahira wants the Pacific to know, the services offered by her clinic are not confined.

The Pacific Regional Medical Command's Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program held a Brain Injury Awareness Open House at TAMC, March 21, to help educate beneficiaries on what brain injury services and support are available. (Photos by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth)

The Pacific Regional Medical Command’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program held a Brain Injury Awareness Open House at TAMC, March 21, to help educate beneficiaries on what brain injury services and support are available. (Photos by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth)

“The services that Tripler offers are not limited to someone coming here,” she explained. “We do a lot of services for American Samoa through tele-health, and we do consultations with the other military treatment centers in Japan, Korea and Okinawa, in regards to TBI.

“We also assist other providers, and sometimes we even do a consultation with the patients themselves, in terms of rehabilitation treatment that they don’t have on site there,” Miyahira added.

TBI-related injuries don’t necessarily happen on the battlefield. According to Dr. Gregory Johnson, medical director of the Concussion Clinic, 80 percent happen in places other than combat.

“We see a number of motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, training accidents, things like that,” said Johnson. “We get a variety, and we see all ages and all branches of the military here.”

Another important aspect of TBI awareness is not only to know the various places these injuries can happen, but to ensure you know the signs and symptoms, no matter what the situation or who may have hit their head.

“(Be) aware or (seek) care if you do have an alteration of consciousness … dazed, confused, getting your bell rung … any type of injury that would signify a concussion,” Johnson said. “We would like everyone to be seen early, but almost everyone with a mild injury gets better.”

Miyahira stressed some of the symptoms to look for if you’re present in the instance someone does hit their head.

“You want to look for the acute signs in terms of whether or not they black out, in other words, if they lose consciousness,” she explained. “You also want to notice if they do seem stunned and not really aware in those few moments that’s where they are.

“You can ask them who they are, where they are, if they know what’s going on, basically,” she continued. “After a few hours, you want to keep them quiet; you want to keep them from being involved in too much activity, such as brain activity, physical activity. Rest is really important.”

For more details, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, or DVBIC, assists DOD and Veterans Affairs in optimizing care of service members and veterans who have sustained a TBI, at home and in a deployed setting, through state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative research, care coordination, educational tools and resources.

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Category: Education, Health

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