St. Rita’s health focus: Studying brain injury

By Amber Ball - Guest Columnist

Mercy Health-St. Rita’s inpatient rehab is proud to be collaborating with the OSU Medical Center in conjunction with their TBI model system.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems program, sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, supports innovative projects and research in the delivery, demonstration and evaluation of medical, rehabilitation, vocational and other services designed to meet the needs of individuals with traumatic brain injury.

NIDILRR awards TBI Model Systems grants to institutions that are national leaders in medical research and patient care; these institutions provide the highest level of comprehensive specialty services from the point of injury through eventual re-entry into full community life. Each TBI Model System contributes to the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center, participate in independent and collaborative research, and provides information and resources to individuals with TBI; their families, caregivers, and friends; health care professionals; and the public.

The Ohio Regional TBI Model System was first funded in 1997. The Ohio Regional TBI Model System is in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Ohio State University Medical Center. The project operates under the umbrella of the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, which provides a means for consumer participation via its 35-member advisory council. Composed primarily of consumers from a multi-state region, the advisory council prioritizes needs, reviews funding opportunities, participates in grant implementation, monitors progress and evaluates program outcomes.

The Ohio Regional TBI Model System serves an area consisting of 2.5 million people in a 25-county area covering central and southern Ohio. All three Level I trauma centers in the region and one of two Level II centers are participants in the Ohio Regional TBI Model System. Brain injury rehabilitation is provided in the 24-bed, CARF-accredited, specialized Brain Injury Unit in the OSU Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Post-acute treatment and follow-up are provided through the department’s brain injury clinic, the outpatient neurorehabilitation program, and the TBI Network, a specialized treatment program for persons with TBI and substance use disorders.

OSU is 1 of 16 TBI model system centers. Mercy Health St. Rita’s is OSU Medical Center’s satellite facility. Mercy Health St. Rita’s has an 18-bed CARF-accredited unit located on the 7E unit inside the medical center. One may ask themselves what is a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury also referred to as a TBI is an insult to the brain, not of a degenerative or congenital nature, but caused by an external physical force that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness, which results in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning.

When your loved one is diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and is admitted to Mercy Health St. Rita’s Inpatient rehab unit, they will automatically be evaluated to be a participant in the TBI research study. This means that highly trained professionals on the research team will evaluate your loved one via a face-to-face interview. Participation in the research study is completely optional.

You may ask what is in it for me? Not only is there some monetary benefit, but most of all knowing that you are involved with improving the lives of persons who experience a TBI, their families and their communities by creating and spreading new information about the course, treatment and outcomes related to their condition. Patients are followed at 1, 2, 5, 10 and every five years thereafter to learn about the long-term effects of moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries.

By Amber Ball

Guest Columnist

For more information on Mercy Health St. Rita’s TBI model system or the inpatient rehab unit please call Amber Ball at 419-226-9772.

For more information on Mercy Health St. Rita’s TBI model system or the inpatient rehab unit please call Amber Ball at 419-226-9772.

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