Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ILL Gov. Urges Federal VA To Improve Care For Vets with Traumatic Brain Injuries!!!

ILL Gov. Blagojevich urges Federal VA to improve continuation
of care for Vets with traumatic brain injuries. New Federal VA
Inspector General Illinois Warrior Assistance Program
offers 24-hour assistance for Veterans in Illinois through
toll-free helpline at 1-866-554-IWAP (4927)

CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blogojevich called on the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs today to improve continuation
of care for Vets with traumatic brain injuries in light of their
Inspector General's report released yesterday finding Veterans
in long term recovery for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are
not getting the assistance they need. In fact the report found
that Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain
injuries were receing inadequate follow-up care.

For Veterans in Illinois, the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program
is available and offers 24-hour assistance through a toll-free
helpline for Illinois Veterans suffering from symptoms
associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
or TBI.

"The effects of war remain long after our brave men and women
return home to their families and friends. The U.S. Department
of Veterans Affairs has to do more for the men and women
injured in combat. In Illinois, we are doing everything in our
power to make sure that the people who risked their lives overseas
defending our freedom have the opportunity to lead healthy, stable
lives," said Gov. Blagojevich. "The Illinois Warrior Assistance
Program will help our returning Veterans make the transition from
their tour of duty to everyday life. I am proud that Illinois is the
first state in the nation to develop this type of program, and I hope
to see other states develop similar programs to help our brave
Veterans across the country."

The report found that for Veterans of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan with TBIs, "long-term case management is not
uniformly provided for these patients, and significant needs
remain unmet." These were the findings even though and earlier
report found that, "specific attention to the long-term needs of
those living with TBI is warranted in part because cognitive and
emotional impairments compromise patients' capacity to seek
help on their own. Unlike other types of injury, brain injury often
causes long lasting emotional difficulties and behavioral problems.
Further, in contrast to amputations and other disabilities, these
problems are often not apparent to casual observers even though
they exact a huge toll on patients and families."

"So many of the men and women serving in the armed forces are
deployed overseas multiple times as the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan continue," said Illinois Department of Veterans'
Affairs Director L. Tammy Duckworth. "We must make sure
that our soldiers returning from combat are able to make the
difficult transition from combat life to civilian life, and the
llinois Warrior Assistance Program provides the assistance
Veterans need to make their daily life easier."

The Illinois Warrior Assistance Program confidential helpline,
1-866-554-IWAP (4927), is available and staffed around
the clock by health professionals to assist Veterans, day or night,
with the symptoms associated with PTSD and to screen for a
possible TBI. Information about the program can also be found at

The Illinois Warrior Assistance Program provides confidential
assistance for Illinois Veterans as they transition back to their
everyday lives after serving our country. Its goal is to help
service members and their families deal with the emotional
and psychological challenges they may be facing. The program
has three major parts: It offers a 24-hour, toll-free helpline at
1-866-554-IWAP (4927), which is staffed by health
professionals to assist veterans, day or night, with the
symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

It also provides Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) screening to
all interested Illinois veterans over the phone via the helpline
or through the State of Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs
(IDVA) Veteran Service Officers (VSOs).It makes TBI
screenings mandatory for all returning members of the Illinois
Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

The VA has set up a 24-hour suicide hotline
round-the-clock access to mental health professionals.
The number is 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK).
To learn more about PTSD-- visit the
National Center for PTSD website.
Flashback, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide,
and the Lessons of WAR by Penny Coleman
and--->I Can Still Hear Thier Cries, Even In My Sleep
...A Journey Into PTSD By E. Everett McFall

Both Books are Available on