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How Can Primary Care Providers Treat Patients with TBI?

How Can Primary Care Providers Treat Patients with TBI?


How can primary care providers treat patients with TBI?

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[Dr. Heechin Chae] Those providers who have very limited time in their offices and their appointments, which is the reality of medicine these days— This is why I will say you have to have a team of providers. I don't think one person—one provider can really manage a veteran with TBI, PTSD, or their comorbid problems. So—especially for primary care physicians out there— don't try to do everything in 15 minutes or limited time. It's perfectly fine for you to tell your patients, "You know what, I have limited time. I see that you have a lot of problems, which—I'll be honest with you— I don't think I'll be able to address everything in this visit, but let's break it down into multiple visits. So we'll address this and let's address other things." At least the patient knows that you actually care. You actually know that there are issues that you at least want to talk to them but appreciate that you're willing to see them again instead of trying to jam pack everything in that 30 minutes, 60 minutes. I say this to my fellows or residents that are under my supervision, "Don't try to do everything in 60 minutes." They say, "Oh how can I do everything you tell me in that 60 minutes or 90 minutes I'm given?" Well, don't try to do everything in one sitting. That's the goal, but if you only have limited time just stop and say, "Let's continue next time." I learned that from my psychology colleagues. They always say, "Hold that thought for a moment. That's for next session." [laughing] And they can move on or at least they don't address it. So let's learn from them. Don't go into it like, "Gosh, they have all these problems." "Well, let's hold that off for next session." So that's the advice that I would give to medical providers out there.

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Dr. Heechin Chae recommends that primary care physicians realize they can't take care of TBI, PTSD, and other co-morbid problems in a military patient during one appointment.

Heechin Chae, MD Heechin Chae, MD was appointed site director of DVBIC at Fort Belvoir and chief of the Traumatic Brain Injury Department at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in 2011. He will become the director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence satellite at Fort Belvoir in 2013.

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