Hundreds of thousands of military personnel have been diagnosed with some level of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the past decade, many as a result of combat injury. TBI and psychological health (PH) conditions can have long-term and sometimes severe effects on service members’ lives, affecting their ability to work, interact with others, manage basic living tasks, and even interact with their own families. Depression, inability to work or live normal lives, and more tragic consequences including suicide can result. Proper and immediate diagnosis and early treatment are crucial to addressing this critical need among America’s military personnel and veterans.
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is addressing this critical need. Following the opening of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) in 2010, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund launched its current effort: building “Intrepid Spirit” centers to serve as satellites to NICoE and extend the care provided at NICoE out to the home bases of many of the troops suffering the effects of TBI and PH.
Each Intrepid Spirit center is approximately 25,000 square feet and costs approximately $11 million to build and equip. While much of the operation at NICoE involves research about TBI and PH conditions, Intrepid Spirit care focuses on diagnosis and treatment. Patient care in each center is approached in a manner similar to NICoE, with each Intrepid Spirit center incorporating the following facilities:
- Intake/Clinic area including psychiatric testing, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, neuro psych testing rooms, and typical exam rooms.
- Physical Therapy with open gym layout with standard physical therapy equipment.
- Sleep Lab equipped with a sleep system and ambient therapy music and a control room equipped with a computer monitoring system.
- Central Park, a calm atmosphere for patient and family member relaxation and family education, with a meditative feel and including ambient therapy music.
- Family Room, centrally located and adjacent to the outdoor patio, providing a space for patients and family to spend time together, a critical part of the healing process.
The network of Intrepid Spirit centers will provide the most advanced care possible to returning military personnel suffering from TBI and PH conditions; enhance the means of properly identifying and diagnosing these conditions; ensure the continued care of individual patients as they move through NICoE, military medical, VA and potentially external medical systems; and continuously research the causes and effects of these conditions to better understand them and develop the best care and treatment possible.
Intrepid Spirit Center program progress:
Fort Belvoir, Virginia, opened August 2013 Centers under construction:
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, opened August 2013
Fort Campbell, Kentucky, opened August 2014
Fort Hood, Texas, opened March 2016
Fort Bragg, North Carolina, opened March 2016
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, completion projected in 2017Three additional Intrepid Spirit centers are planned. Once complete, the Intrepid Spirit centers will treat thousands of patients annually, providing them and their families the most advanced care possible.