Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans. Welcome
Defense Health Agency/Defense Health Board Falls Church United States
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Traumatic brain injury TBI is a major public health problem in the United States. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that TBI is more prevalent than cases of multiple sclerosis, HIVAIDS, and breast cancer combined. Due to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, members of the United States Armed Forces are one of the largest populations at risk for TBI. Of the service members medically evacuated for battle-related injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 33 percent had traumatic brain injury as of March 2009. Due to medical and technological advances, we haveseen a decrease in mortality rates for those with severe TBI from the 50 percent range in the 1970s to the 30 percent range at this time. As a result, family members and loved ones like yourself are increasingly being recruited to enlist in the ranks of caregivers to assist in the journey toward the greatest level of recovery possible for your service member. This guide was written to support and empower you along this journey. Individuals who sustain a TBI may experience short- and long-term effects, such as alterations in thinking, sensation, language, behavior, and emotions. Whether the TBI is mild, moderate, or severe, persistent symptoms can have a profound and persisting impact, not only on the injured survivor but also on those who function as caregivers. It is you, the caregiver, who must not only survive the immediate shock when a TBI occurs, but must also learn to support and aid the service member who experiences ongoing effects caused by this injury. A TBI can radically change the lives of the individuals who are closest to those who experience it. In December 2006, Congress took action to support caregivers by passing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007.
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