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Resources for Traumatic Brain Injury SurvivorsPosted January 26, 2017
By Jonathan A. Karon
Suffering a traumatic brain injury can be isolating and frightening. Fortunately, there are a number of organizations which provide information and support to traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors and their families. The leading national organization is the Brain Injury Association of America. Their website can be found at http://www.biausa.org and provides information on traumatic brain injuries, listings of rehabilitation and other service providers, a directory of state and local affiliates and other resources. Their state affiliates generally have more detailed information regarding specific state resources. In Massachusetts, their local affiliate is the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts. Their website is at www.biama.org/ and includes a contact list of support groups for brain injury survivors.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts also provides valuable support to TBI survivors. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission has a Statewide Head Injury Program (commonly referred to as SHIP) to promote the recovery of persons with traumatic brain injuries. Their services include regional service centers, community based support services, recreational programs, assistive technology and family assistance programs. Their services are available to persons suffering from the persistent effects of mild traumatic brain injuries (persistent post-concussion symptoms) as well as those with more easily observable brain damage and cognitive impairments. Speaking from experience, the SHIP program made a substantial difference in the quality of care received by a former client with significant cognitive deficits caused by a mild traumatic brain injury. A skilled and compassionate counselor from the SHIP program referred her for treatment and counseling from skilled providers. This made a world of difference in her recovery. (For a discussion of why finding the right treaters is essential, see our December 9, 2016 blog post “Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries: Where You Treat Can Make All the Difference” www.karonlaw.net/blog?id=322) TBI survivors do have to apply for acceptance into the SHIP program to verify that they have an “externally caused traumatic brain injury” and would benefit from services. Information about the SHIP program can be found at www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/disability-services/services-by-type/head-injury/services/ and general information about eligibility and the application process is at www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/disability-services/services-by-type/head-injury/eligibility-and-application-for-services.html More specific information can be obtained by calling (617) 204-3852 or e-mailing SHIPU@mrc.state.us.ma.us.
Finally, a lot of medical information, data and statistics regarding traumatic brain injuries is easily downloadable from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Their “Heads Up” landing page www.cdc.gov/headsup/resources/index.html has links to “Brain Injury Basics” with detailed medical information on both concussions, danger signs, recovery and more severe brain injuries and links to additional pages of resources regarding traumatic brain injuries. Some of these materials can be particularly helpful in providing a basic understanding of what to expect if you’ve sustained a mild traumatic brain injury.
I hope that the above will be useful to people who are striving to survive and recover from a traumatic brain injury and their families. I’d like it to be a useful reference and I also try to keep informed of available resources for future clients. Accordingly, if you know of a useful organization or website that you think should be included, please shoot me an e-mail through this site’s contact page and I’ll update this post to incorporate the new information.
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