Social Media for Veterans
The VA has launched social media platforms for 152 VA Medical Centers
Gradually during the past ten years the Veteran’s Administration has taken on a new cadre of wounded and/or disabled Veterans. Today the Army and other branches do not discharge soldiers until they have been through a vigorous appraisal while still on active duty. This becomes an important part of their permanent medical record (via the VA AHLTA EMR if they ever have to apply for service connected disability. At the time of discharge many are not yet aware that they may have PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) or post-TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
If you haven’t been to a VA Medical Center lately you would be surprised at the gradual metamorphosis the VA Centers have gone through since 1992 and the first Gulf war.
Many PCPs and other specialty providers may not be familiar with DOD process, nor VA Hospital paradigms for treating military personnel, nor the signs and/or symptoms of PTSD and TBI or how the two can be related to created a synergy that is challenging both to provider and patient.
The Defense and Veteran’s Brain Injury website also offers a centralized information source.
For practitioners not directly affiliated Veteran’s Health Facilities the Department of The Army offers some practical information guides and brochures for both the veteran and his physician.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury ? During the Iraqi and Afghanistan War the typical head injury changed from massive trauma and hemorrhagic injuries to chronic repetitive concussive (blast) injury from IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). In these cases the importance of a history of the injury, the distance from the blast(s) and the number of incidents to which the soldier sustained.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program Validation AMEDD (Army Medical Department) maintains several programs which are linked to TBI and PTSD at Regional Centers. These are staffed with a multi-disciplinary team.
Here are some of the IEDs our troops faced:
The potential range for harm is impressive and exposes tens and possibly hundreds to injuries or death.
Other devices include:
Many soldiers develop social anxiety disorders as part of the PTSD and post-Traumatic Brain Injury Syndrome.
What role does Social Media play in rehabilitation for these veterans? Would developing relationships on Facebook, twitter, and Google + hangouts benefit these returning soldiers.
There are already a number of advocacy groups for TBI and PTSD active on Facebook, which can easily be found by searching for TBI or PTSD. For Twitter #tbi and #ptsd already exist.
The Road out of PTSD Hell from Veterans Today
PTSD and TBI patients do not wear their scars externally. That person sitting opposite of you in the bus, in the restaurant may suffer each day for serving our country.