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Polytrauma/TBI System of Care

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Acute Rehabilitation


Assistive Technologies


Benefits Counselor

Blast Injury

Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit (BIRU)

Case Manager

Center for the Intrepid, San Antonio, TX


Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse (CRRN)

Clinical Psychologist

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)

Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC)

Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination

Comprehensive Medical Evaluation

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC)

Electronic Health Record (EHR)

Fisher House




Military Liaison

Military Treatment Facility (MTF)

Neoplastic Diseases



Occupational Therapist


Orthopedic/Orthopedist (Orthotist)



Physical Therapist



Polytrauma Network Site (PNS)

Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)




Public Affairs Officer (PAO)

Readjustment Counseling Service (RCS) – see also: Vet Center

Recreational Therapist



Social Case Worker

Speech Pathologist

Sub-Acute Rehabilitation

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)



Vet Center – see also: Readjustment Counseling Service (RCS)

Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC)

Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)

Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

Veterans Service Organization (VSO)

Vocational Rehabilitation





Acute Rehabilitation: Acute rehabilitation refers to intensive efforts involving therapy and reeducation to help a patient regain mobility, strength, and flexibility following a severe injury.

Anoxia: A condition where bodily tissues are deprived of oxygen to such a degree that permanent damage results.

Assistive Technologies: Assistive technologies help people with disabilities get around more easily, communicate better, live more independently and become more active in their communities.

Audiologist: Audiologists specialize in the assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients with disorders of hearing function.

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Benefits Counselor: A benefits counselor works with veterans and their family members to identify resources available in the VA system to help with employment, education, health, and financial support.

Blast Injury: Blast Injury is trauma or damage occurring as the result of a violent explosion or the wave of pressure from such an explosion.

Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit (BIRU): The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit is an outpatient program that provides cognitive retraining and community re-entry rehabilitation to patients with Traumatic Brain Injury.

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Case Manager: Case managers are the primary points of contact in the Polytrauma System of Care and coordinate services, resources, and communications among the patient, family, military and VA.

Center for the Intrepid, San Antonio, TX: The Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio was financed and constructed by the Fisher House Foundation as a non-profit rehabilitation center to care for service members and veterans with amputations, severe trauma, and serious burns.

Cerebral: Cerebral refers to the brain in general, or the cerebrum specifically.

Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse (CRRN): A Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse is specially trained in rehabilitation therapy and care.

Clinical Psychologist: Clinical psychologists assess the patient’s initial mood, behavior, and mental ability and monitor any changes over time.  Clinical psychologists also provide support and education to patients and their families.

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF): CARF is an independent evaluator of rehabilitation services in the US, Canada, Western Europe, and South America.

Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC): A Community Based Outpatient Clinic is a medical facility providing limited services to a given locale.

Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination: A Compensation and Pension Examination is conducted by a VA physician to evaluate a veterans’ level of disability associated with military service; this finding helps determine the kind and amount of benefits offered.

Comprehensive Medical Evaluation: A comprehensive medical examination is conducted by a physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine and includes a self-reported medical history and current complaints, along with a complete physical examination.

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Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC): The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) is a multi-site system supported by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs that provides clinical care, research, and education on brain injuries.

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Electronic Health Record (EHR): An electronic health record integrates all elements of a patient’s health history, including medications, lab work, x-rays, scans, EKGs, medical diagnoses, and more.  EHRs are accessible at any secure station in any VA medical facility.

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Fisher House: A facility built with private funds by the Fisher House Foundation to provide families of veterans and service members a comfortable place to stay while their family member recovers at a Military Treatment Facility or VA medical facility.

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Hypoxia: A condition where bodily tissue is deprived of oxygen.

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Inpatient: Inpatient refers to care provided for persons who have been admitted to a medical facility and remain on the premises during periods without active clinical treatment.

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Kinesiologist: Kinesiologists specialize in understanding anatomically and mechanically how the human body moves.

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Military Liaison: Military Liaisons represent the military and assist communication between VA, service members and family members.  Military Liaisons also function as subject matter experts on all issues related to the military transfer of soldiers.

Military Treatment Facility (MTF): A Military Treatment Facility refers to any of several medical centers administered by the Department of Defense.

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Neoplastic Diseases: Neoplastic diseases are adverse conditions related to a tumor or growth.

Neurologist: Neurologists specialize in the medical treatment of disorders of the nervous system like seizures.


Neuropsychologist: Neuropsychologists are clinical or counseling psychologist with specialized training in studying brain behavior relationships.

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Occupational Therapist: Occupational Therapists provide services to improve the patient’s ability to accomplish everyday tasks associated with a maximum level of safe independence.

Ophthalmologist: Ophthalmologists specialize in the management and surgical treatment of disorders of the eye.

Orthopedic/Orthopedist (Orthotist): Orthopedists specialize in the surgical treatment of musculoskeletal disorders such as broken bones, amputations, or chronic joint diseases.

Otolaryngologist: Otolaryngologists, also called ear, nose, and throat physicians, specialize in the surgical treatment of disorders of the ear, nose, and throat.

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Physiatrist: Physiatrists perform a thorough evaluation and make referrals to other rehabilitation disciplines and/or medical services as needed. Physiatrists oversees all rehabilitation treatment programs.

Physical Therapist: Physical Therapists work with patients, families, and doctors to establish individual goals and a treatment plan to help the patient achieve maximize independence.

Podiatrist: Podiatrists specialize in surgical or non-surgical treatment of the foot and ankle to support mobility and walking.


Polytrauma: Polytrauma is defined as two or more injuries to physical regions or organ systems, one of which may be life threatening, resulting in physical, cognitive, psychological, or psychosocial impairments and functional disability. 

Polytrauma Network Site (PNS): Polytrauma Network Sites provide specialized, post-acute rehabilitation in consultation with the Rehabilitation Centers in a setting appropriate to the needs of veterans, service members, and families.  These Network Sites provide proactive case management for existing and emerging conditions and identify local resources for VA and non-VA care.

Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC): Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers coordinate the transfer and provision of health care for patients with Traumatic Brain Injury and other serious injuries within the VA system and between VA and the Department of Defense.  They also ensure timely access to veterans’ benefits.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a psychological condition that affects those who have experienced a traumatizing or life-threatening event such as combat, natural disasters, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults.

Prosthetic/Prosthetist: Prosthetists specialize in the fabrication of artificial limbs and other mechanical appliances such as splints and braces.

Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness.

Psychologist: Psychologists specialize in the science of the mind and behavior and offer guidance and counseling.

Public Affairs Officer: Public Affairs Officers represent the Department of Veterans Affairs at the facility level, respond to public inquiries, and coordinate media events.

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Readjustment Counseling Service (RCS): Readjustment counseling and outreach services are available free of charge at Vet Centers to all veterans who served in any combat zone. Services are also available for their family members for military related issues.  (See also: Vet Center)

Recreational Therapist:   Recreation therapists, use Treatment Services and Recreation Services when treating persons with illness or disabling conditions. The primary purpose of Treatment Services which are often referred to as Recreational Therapy, is to restore, remediate or rehabilitate in order to improve functioning and independence, as well as, reduce or eliminate the effects of illness or disability.  The primary purpose of Recreational Services is to provide recreational resources and opportunities in order to improve health and well-being.  Therapeutic Recreation is provided by professionals who are trained and certified, registered and or/licensed to provide Therapeutic Recreation.  (Reference: ATRA)


Rehabilitation: Physically restoring in whole or in part an injured or disabled person through therapy and re-education to the point of again in participating in normal life.

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Sequelae: Sequelae refer to negative after-effects of a condition.

Social Case Worker: Social workers conduct a comprehensive psychosocial assessment with the patient and the family to ensure that the overall treatment plan is tailored specifically to meet the patient’s needs and goals.  Social workers are also available to help patients and families with other problems that go along with an extended illness and/or disability, including supportive counseling for emotional needs, information about healthcare financing, advance directives, and community services and programs.


Speech Pathologist: Speech-Language Pathologists provide both diagnostic and rehabilitative services while educating the patient and the family.  Specific goals and therapy programs are designed to fit the patient’s needs.

Sub-Acute Rehabilitation: Sub-acute Rehabilitation refers to continued therapy and reeducation that does not require continuous care and supervision; sub-acute rehabilitation occurs on an outpatient basis under the supervision of a trained rehabilitation specialist. 

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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Traumatic Brain Injury is the result of a severe or moderate force to the head, where physical portions of the brain are damaged and functioning is impaired.

Tricare: Tricare is a health care plan that uses military health care as the main delivery system and a civilian network of providers to provide care for service members (active and retired) and their families.

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Vascular: Vascular refers to conditions related to the circulatory system.

Vet Center: Vet Centers are locations that provide readjustment counseling and outreach services free of charge to all veterans who served in any combat zone. Services are also available for their family members for military related issues.  (See also: Readjustment Counseling Service – RCS)

Veterans Affairs (VA): The Department of Veterans Affairs is a Cabinet level department responsible for providing health care, benefits, and burial services to America’s veterans.

Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC): A Veterans Affairs Medical Center is a hospital or

Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA): The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is responsible for determining eligibility and distributing benefits to veterans based upon need and service.

Veterans Health Administration (VHA): The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is responsible for coordinating and providing health care for all enrolled veterans based upon need and service.

Veterans Service Organization (VSO): Veterans Service Organizations are private, non-profit groups that advocate on behalf of veterans.  Examples include Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion.

Vocational Rehabilitation: Vocational Rehabilitation therapists develop a plan that will enable the patient to return to work in coordination with the clinical team, help coordinate and explain disability benefits, and work with employers to ensure good job matches and suitable accommodations for the patient in the work environment.

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