On Saturday, April 12, eager crowds attended the ribbon-cutting for the new Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida.
According to Dr. Steven Scott, many had the same reaction he did when he first visited the new facility. “Wow!” Scott is Chief, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, at the new center.
The Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center will serve as the first stop for many on the road to recovery and reintegration into the community for returning Veterans and active duty servicemembers. It will help Veterans readjust to society in a family-focused facility that combines all of their rehabilitation needs in one place.
The center is a state-of-the-art facility that provides comprehensive, compassionate, high-quality, interdisciplinary care to patients and their families. It’s an example of modern, award-winning architecture that creates a home-like healing environment.
VA’s Polytrauma System of Care is for Veterans and servicemembers with multiple injuries that result in physical, cognitive and/or psychological impairments and functional disability.
The new facility features 56 private inpatient rooms, a therapeutic climbing wall, an aquatic center including a treadmill therapy pool, a virtual reality simulation center, a multi-surface mobility training area and an outdoor recreational therapeutic activity space including a basketball court, putting green and horseshoe pit.
This environment features “patient neighborhoods,” natural light, day rooms and an atrium with a “town center” and a “main street” and exterior deck for patients and their families to socialize and relax.
Among the many features of the center, all patient rooms support a lift-free environment and have television programs with the patient-centered Get Well Network – interactive software so patients can access health information and watch movies, television or surf the Internet.
Final touches are being completed and the new center will open soon.
“This center fulfills the promise we have made to our Veterans,” said Dr. Scott. “If you get injured, we promise we will give you the best rehabilitation care. And that promise is what I see when I look at this building.”
Rehabilitation efforts plan to focus on successful community re-integration, vocational rehabilitation, educational support and life span and secondary conditions to aging, with traumatic brain, spinal cord and amputation injuries.
A Neighborhood Called Bravery
The units in the new center are broken into “neighborhoods” and with military- inspired names of Duty, Patriot and Valor on the second floor and Motivation, Bravery, Honor and Courage on the third floor.
Each spacious room includes a comfortable family niche, large roll-in showers, a personal memorabilia display and outward facing windows for natural lighting.
A key component of VA’s Polytrauma System are the teams of clinicians from a range of fields who develop and implement individually-tailored rehabilitation plans to foster recovery as quickly and as completely as possible.
This center fulfills the promise we have made to our Veterans.
Additional inpatient and outpatients services featured in the new Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center include:
- Integration with the VA Amputation System of Care which provides acute and long-term medical, rehabilitation and prosthetic needs for individuals with amputations.
- Assistive Technology Labs that offer comprehensive evaluation, prescription and training for the use of technology to optimize Veterans’ and active duty servicemembers’ independence and community participation goals.
- Expansion of tele-rehabilitation services that include standardized protocols for remote TBI evaluation, devices for in-home monitoring of TBI symptoms and the TBI Coach, an app for the self-management of TBI symptoms.
The Polytrauma System of Care at the Tampa VA Hospital is expected to continue to evolve over time, potentially seeing an increase in the need for the hospital to continue providing mental health support for posttraumatic stress, substance abuse and complicated issues secondary to deployment. The newly constructed space is flexible to accommodate the evolving needs of Veteran and active duty patients today and into the future.
Since April 2007, more than 500,000 Veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn entering the VA health care system have been screened for possible TBI with more than 53,000 by the Tampa VA Hospital alone.