Great day in Washington, DC. Kristine Longo, Sharon Murphy Potts, Robin Sheeran, Karyn Kling and myself traveled to Washington, DC. for 2017 Brain Injury Awareness day. While we were on the Hill, we met with the Health policy/Legislative aides (LA) for Reps Meehan, Boyle, Fitzpatrick, Sen. Toomey and Sen Casey. In the meetings we reviewed our (GPC ARN) Legislative agenda. At each meeting we provided and reviewed our Legislative agendas for Brain Injury care and Advocacy. Our resource packets included briefs on; Support for FY 2018 Funding Traumatic Brain Injury Act, Rehabilitation Research and Education at NINR, Preserving Access to Quality Rehabilitation Services, Support Chronic Care Reform, Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home and Appropriate Quality Measures and Outcomes across the Post- Acute Care Continuum. There is a link to the briefs on Government Relations Committee of GPC ARN website.
We attended the Brain Injury Awareness day. 2017 Brain Injury Awareness day is the work of members of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, which is co-chaired by Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J., and Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Florida. The theme of events and activities this year is Faces of Brain Injury: The Invisible Disability Affecting Children and Adults. The purpose of the Brain Injury Awareness day is to update the public about brain injury prevention, product, services and research for those with brain injuries and their families. An additional goal of the program is as an outreach from the brain injury community to help de-stigmatize the brain injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the support prevention and research.
There was a 75-minute education program “Faces of Brain Injury: The Invisible Disability Affecting Children and Adults,” hosted by Representative Pascrell. The presentations were brief overviews of brain injury research and stories of survival. There were 4 speakers that included Olivia Long a 18-year-old from New Jersey who discussed her journey of traumatic brain injury survival. She will graduate from high school in June and start college at a local community college in September. She was so brave and had a very powerful story of resilience. The program also included representatives from the CDC/ Active Military, Veteran Affairs and the Department of Defense presented briefs about programs and research that reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury. TBI statistics were reviewed from the 3/17/17 MMWR report shows that 3.5 million adults and children suffer an acquired brain injury every year – this excludes brain injuries that are not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. TBIs affect at least 2.5 million children and adults annually in this country, with 280,000 TBI hospitalizations and 50,000 TBI deaths recorded annually. This report describes the estimated incidence of TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths during 2013 and makes comparisons to similar estimates from 2007. The highest rates of TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths were observed among persons aged ≥75 years; this suggests an urgent need to enhance fall-prevention efforts in that population.
The CDC representative discussed a pilot Concussion Surveillance project starting in May 2017. This project will look at the burden of TBI and lifetime prevalence. Also discussed was a plan to develop Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of TBI in pediatric population based on research. Also overview of a community Senior’s Falls Prevention program “STEADI’ being used in Oregon. CDC also introduced “Rocket Blades”, the CDC’s Injury Center first-ever mobile game app on concussion safety for children aged 6 to 8. Through a futuristic world of galactic racing adventures children can learn the benefits of playing it safe and smart. Making this a fun way for kids to learn Brain Injury Prevention. We gleaned so much information about how our funds from NINR and CDC research grants are improving the science of brain injury prevention and care.
After the briefing was a reception hosted by Representative Pascrell to honor the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and to celebrate brain injury awareness month. The reception was attended by TBI providers, survivors and supporters sha ring their stories of hope. It was a great day.
Thank you Jordan Wildermuth, ARN Manager Health Policy & Advocacy for helping us prepare for the day.
Written by Elaine Flynn, Chair, Government Relations Committee