Military service members who have suffered traumatic brain injuries face severe challenges when they return home. For many, their injury throws their lives upside down, and they struggle to deal with the challenges caused by their new disabilities while integrating back into their old communities. Each of our Chicago brain injury lawyers have followed closely as stories continue to roll out of the vast number of service members who have experienced these injuries and the often inadequate treatment that they receive upon their arrival home. As many as 320,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have reported suffered some form of traumatic brain injury over the last decade of combat. Brain injury care remains murky as medical professionals are still uncovering the best ways to ensure these victims don’t suffer further brain damage and recover as much as possible.
Several brain injury victims’ advocates are stepping up to the challenges presented by the situation and are working to help the victims. New Jersey News reported this week on a nonprofit effort that is being spearheaded by one community to provide needed resources to military members who suffered a traumatic brain injury. The effort was first thought up by an occupational therapist who worked at a naval hospital. The woman saw firsthand the way that these injuries debilitated the victims, leaving serious physical and psychological scars.
To help these victims the therapist met with other local advocates and began work on a new nonprofit organization to help these veterans with traumatic brain injuries. At the center of the organization is the Thomas Jerome House-a place where victims can live in a group home setting to best provide for their recovery and well-being. The facility is named for a veteran who was blinded and lost a large part of his frontal lobe by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq.
In working with these victims the therapist learned that many families were concerned about the long-term well being of the soldiers. It remains unclear what type of support system they would have as the war winds down and resources are cut to provide for their long-term care. Family members of these service members voiced worry about what would become of their loved one when their support networks were gone. That is where the idea for the group homes first arose.
The idea behind the facilities is to essentially create a group home atmosphere specifically for soldiers where there is an emphasis on hominess and military camaraderie. Veterans will be allowed to apply for access to the home after they are discharged from the hospital. The home will then provide around the clock care and assistance from those with medical or nursing backgrounds. The founder stated that those spearheading the effort “were trying to keep them out of nursing home, we’re trying to keep them from being homeless, and trying to prevent higher rates of disabilities.”
The therapist leading the project has experience in these efforts. Her family has previously created to nonprofit homes for those with developmental disabilities. Those houses provide transition spaces for individuals who have aged out of the state system. In a similar way, the Thomas Jerome House seeks to help military members who are transitioning out of the hospital.
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