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Katherine Sullivan: Measuring Outcome for People with TBI at Walter Reed's Brain Fitness Center

Measuring Outcome for People with TBI at Walter Reed's Brain Fitness Center

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One of the things that has occurred over the last 5 years is being able to screen more patients for traumatic brain injury. It has been wonderful so that no one really slips through the cracks. There is a thorough screening for everyone coming back from their tour of duty. But, we also see many more individuals with mild traumatic brain injury. There are 3 research protocols in the Brain Fitness Center: One is a retroscpective analysis of the 1st 100 patients that came into the Brain Fitness Center. This is a descriptive analysis so that we know who is coming, who is staying, and are they getting any better. So, we do have some objective means of measuring outcomes. The 2nd is a prospective randomized protocol that we're actually randomizing individuals to 2 of the programs or no program at all to see if there is any difference between the programs or using a program and just standard of care. The 3rd is upcoming, which we have not started to recruit for. It is a new program that is going to be put on the market, and we're going to be part of that pilot program. it is very specific to TBI patients, which is really nice to see that these programs are focusing on our specific populations the TBI, the young men and women, and especially the military. So, these programs are now being designed for our service members— our wounded warriors. Our number of referrals has doubled in over 1 year. We have seen what started as 20 patients per month 2 years ago we are now seeing about 180 patients per month in our Brain Fitness Center. But, we need to know why this is working, and if it is working, and who it is working for. So, going from an anecdotal and just pure referral numbers to actually doing some research.

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The number of service members and veterans using the Brain Fitness Center has jumped exponentially. Among other studies, the center is looking at why its programs are working, how they are working, and who they are working for.


Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Brian King, and Jared Schaubert, BrainLine.

Katherine Sullivan, MS CCC-SLP, CBIS Katherine Sullivan, MS CCC-SLP, CBIS, Kate Sullivan, MS is a speech-language pathologist and director of the Brain Fitness Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda. In 2009, she helped launch the Brain Fitness Center, devised as an adjunct to traditional cognitive therapies offered by Speech and Occupational Therapy.

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