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Upstate marks Brain Injury Awareness Week with presentations and displays

Upstate marks Brain Injury Awareness Week with presentations and displays

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation will mark Brain Injury Awareness Month with a week of presentations and informational displays, March 19 to 23. An informational display on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) will be held Thursday, March 22, in front of the main elevators on 2 North of Upstate University Hospital from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The theme for the Brain Injury Awareness Month and Week is “Brain Injury: Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone.”

A brain injury can change a life in a split second,” said Joanne Scandale, Ph.D., a rehabilitation counselor with PM&R. “In an instant, one can face a lifetime of physical, cognitive and behavior challenges.”

Citing national statistics, Scandale said about 1.7 million people annually sustain a TBI in the United States and about 75 percent of those TBIs are from concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury.

Scandale, who has been working with patients for the past two decades, said many advances are giving these patients a more promising future to live fuller lives.

One such breakthrough in treatment is the new robotic walking therapy system that Upstate introduced last year. The Lokomat system helps patients improve or restore motor function by enabling patients to more comfortably undergo more intense and effective therapy sessions.

In addition to physical rehabilitation, Scandale said TBI patients also undergo cognitive remediation and speech therapy that helps them better deal with the effects brain injury has on their ability to effectively communicate with others.

Individuals interested in learning more about TBI are welcome to attend the following informational sessions At Upstate University Hospital:

- March 19, 3 to 4 p.m.; Large Conference Room, Room 2138; overview of CNY Works Inc.

- March 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Second floor elevator lobby outside Café 750; informational booth with representatives from the Brain Injury Association of New York State.

- March 21, noon to 1 p.m.; Small Cafeteria, second floor; Survivors’ Panel.

- March 22, 3 to 4:30 p.m.; Large Conference Room, Room 2138; Candace Rutledge and Kate Budlong will discuss both the TBI Waiver program and the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Waiver program.

- March 23, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; PM&R Family Room, second floor; game day for families, patients and the Upstate community.

Caption: Rehabilitation counselor Joanne Scandale, PhD, and occupational therapist Leah Walters hope to increase awareness of traumatic brain injury and what treatment Upstate offers for patients during a weeklong series of presentations and displays.