The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun turning out dozens of brain-damaged veterans from special therapeutic group homes due to the lack of renewal by Congress of their rehabilitation program. The Wall Street Journal reports that in recent weeks, VA case workers have warned 53 veterans they’ll have to leave the privately run homes by September 15, according to the agency. Ten have already been discharged from the care facilities and sent to nursing homes.
The special program was a five-year pilot program that was created to see if veterans with traumatic brain injuries would improve more with intense therapy as opposed to the non-specialized treatment received in nursing homes or in-home programs. Sadly, the program hasn’t even been fully evaluated, but The Wire reports that Sharon Benedict, the program’s manager, stated:
“All indications are that the satisfaction is high among the veterans with the services they’re receiving, and they seem to be making gains.”
Benedict said that both parties — Democrat and Republican — have agreed that the program for brain-damaged vets should be renewed. However, they just cannot agree on how to renew it. Meanwhile, veterans with brain-injuries are being turned away from the very care that has been working for them the last five years.
“Studies have found that as many as 45 percent of individuals with a severe TBI (traumatic brain injury) are poorly reintegrated into their community, and social isolation is reported as one of the most persistent issues in follow up studies of such patients. However, individuals with severe TBI who have individualized plans and services to foster independent living skills and social interaction are able to participate meaningfully in community settings. It is critical that these warriors not be denied the promise of the fullest recovery possible.”
The program is in high demand considering that, since 2000, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center has recorded more than 300,000 members of the U.S. military with a traumatic brain injury. It is estimated that between 10 to 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq have TBI. These are startlingly high numbers, yet Congress is unable to extend the rehabilitation program due to neither party being able to pinpoint exactly how they want to extend the program going forward.
Veterans are often left on the back burner. The Inquisitr recently reported on the military veteran who died at a VA hospital just 500 yards from an emergency room.
What do you think should be done for these brain-injured veterans while they wait for Congress to act?
[Image Credit: Associated Press]