By Ms. Suzanne Ovel (Army Medicine)November 13, 2015
Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund leadership broke ground here Oct. 29, 2015, on an Intrepid Spirit Center that will diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, and chronic pain.
The new center is the first of its kind on the west coast and the sixth such center nationwide. More than 320,000 service members have been diagnosed with TBI or PTS since 2001, and there over 70,000 service members deployed today, said Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Tempel Jr., commanding general of Western Regional Medical Command and chief of the Army Dental Corps.
"The Intrepid Spirit Center allows Madigan Army Medical Center to participate in a growing network of centers providing state-of-the-art treatment services for those suffering from TBI and psychological health conditions," said Col. Michael Place, Madigan commander. More than half of the center will be staffed by Madigan's experts in its current TBI Program, its Integrated Pain Management Clinic and Department of Behavioral Health.
The 25,000 square-foot Intrepid Spirit Center will cost approximately $11 million and will open its doors equipped with the latest in brain technology and treatment. Funding for the project is being raised privately through the IFHF, who will then gift the facility to JBLM.
The center will provide a highly individualized, person-centered, rehabilitative model of care, said Place. The holistic approach will include restorative therapies for patients with complex medical conditions, offering four to six weeks of intensive outpatient care with follow-on support groups.
While the center will provide servicemembers with the tools they need to continue with their recovery process when they return to their units, it will also be their assigned duty location while undergoing care at the center. This allows servicemembers to concentrate solely on recuperation during their stay.
The center's model of care allows each patient to have a personal nurse advocate to manage their care at the program and to transition care at the completion of the program, said Col. Beverly Scott, a neurologist and Madigan's medical director of the TBI Program; she will be the chief of the Intrepid Spirit Center once opened. The program will also allow patients' entire care teams to meet with them and their families to review their medical history, current issues and goals, which allows care teams to develop a master treatment plan with input from the entire team.
The Intrepid Spirit Center's model is based off of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Medical Center, where Staff Sgt. (retired) Spencer Milo received treatment after sustaining two traumatic brain injuries and PTS in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Milo, who spoke at the ceremony, said that his treatment there "completely changed my life for the better immediately."
The model of meeting with all of one's care team at the same time was a relief, as it is painful to have to re-share a traumatic event multiple times, said Milo.
"I had to tell my story one time," he said. "They asked their questions one time. We were all on the same page from the get-go."
Likewise, JBLM's Intrepid Spirit Center will consider families welcome and integral to servicemembers' care; the center will also augment more traditional therapy with therapies such as acupuncture, art therapy, spiritual resilience and more.
"This model of care has shown amazing results," said David Winters, President of Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. "More than 90 percent of treated patients at other Intrepid Centers have continued serving on active duty."