Traumatic brain injuries affect nearly 3000 people each year in Utah. The Utah Department of Health reports that every day, 37 people are treated and released from an emergency room due to a TBI. Another seven are hospitalized or die each day from a TBI.
Traumatic brain injuries can have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to lead an active, fulfilling life. Knowing where to turn to get the help for short- and long-term care is critical in the quality of life possible after suffering a TBI.
The Utah Traumatic Brain Injury Implementation Partnership Project has been working for the past few years to improve the availability of resources and supports in Utah for TBI victims and their families. Based on the results of a needs survey taken in 2007, a state-wide Action Plan was outlined that implemented best practices throughout Utah in TBI care and resources. At the same time, training modules were developed and used to train state agencies that provide care for individuals with TBI and their families.
Five years later, a new and revised survey is ready to be sent out across Utah to TBI victims and their families to see if the current TBI services and support are meeting their needs and to answer questions like: Did you know where to go for treatment? Did you receive the treatment you needed and was it helpful? Did you receive the information and resources that you needed?
Special training modules have also been developed to train service providers who work with very young children, ages birth-4 years old, and will be made available to providers statewide. TBI 101, an introductory module that defines traumatic brain injury, the causes, and outlines the resources available, has been translated into Spanish for the Latino population. Modifications were made to make it more culturally appropriate for the Native American population in Utah.
TBI, commonly known as the signature wound in the war on terrorism, is a significant health issue within the military, affecting an estimated 20-25% of returning service members. The Center for Persons with Disabilities, along with the Disability Resource Center and other USU departments that work with veterans who are enrolled in college, worked together to develop a training module and other resources to train University staff who might be working with returning veterans who have a TBI. This training will be shared with other colleges and universities across Utah.
Through the combined efforts of the TBI Partnership project and the state agencies that provide services and resources, there is now a well-informed system of services ready to help individuals with a TBI and their families.