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NEWSLETTER

March

Disability Rights of West Virginia

Programs and Supports for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

2022

Article by Regina Desmond, DRWV Senior Advocate

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, there are more than 5.3 million children and adults in the United States who are living with a permanent brain injury-related disability. That’s one in every 60 people.

DRWV would like you to be aware of the following programs available to those with lived experience and their support systems.

Support Groups

There are several Support Groups in WV for those with a TBI. Groups include: Morgantown Brain Injury Group (BIG) of WV; BIG of the Eastern Panhandle; BIG at Marshall; BIG of Southern WV; and, the Mid-Ohio Valley Brain Injury Support and Information Group.

The TBI Program at the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities (WVUCED) has Monthly Virtual Mindfulness Sessions for People with TBI, Caregivers/Family Members of People with TBI, and Professionals. These meetings are held on Zoom the 3rd Friday of the month from 12-1 p.m.

Traumatic brain injuries not only impact the person with TBI, they also impact their family members and caregivers. After a TBI, family dynamics often shift. Many find themselves plunged into the role of caregiver which can increase stress and a sense of burden. These are related with poorer physical and emotional health. This has the potential to decrease the caregiver’s quality of life. Caregivers play a vital role in the life of a survivor and their well-being is important. A caregiver can impact the TBI survivor’s success in recovery. Due to this, the TBI project holds a support group for Caregivers. This group meets via zoom on the last Friday of each month from 12-1pm. Caregivers and family members of individuals with TBIs are all welcome. To RSVP and register, call Carrie Cobun Stark, TBI Intake Coordinator at 304-376-7834 or email ccobun@hsc.wvu.edu.

Information on the Support Groups and Mindfulness sessions can be found online at: http://tbi.cedwvu.org/support-groups/.

Community-Based Supports

The West Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waiver program provides home and community-based services to those with traumatic brain injury. These services are provided in conjunction with the support and assistance of family members, friends and other caregivers. TBI Waiver Services include case management, personal attendant services, and, transportation. More information about TBI Waiver can be found online at:  http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/bms/Programs/WaiverPrograms/TBIW/Pages/default.aspx 

The TBI Program at WVUCED provides resource coordination, technical assistance, training, screening & assessments are available to individuals of all ages with TBI, family members, caregivers and service providers. The statewide program consists of regional TBI Social Workers who use a person-centered approach to help individuals reach their personal goals and achieve independence within their communities. Additional information on the TBI Program at WVUCED can be found online at http://tbi.cedwvu.org/.  Referrals for their program can also be completed online.

Funds for You

The Funds for You Program provides individuals who have a have a medically confirmed diagnosis of traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury with goods and services that will increase opportunities for and enhance the achievement of functional independence and a return to a productive lifestyle.

Goods and services may include, but are not limited to medical, dental, vision/hearing, Adaptive Equipment/Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Assistive Technology Assessment /Training and Start-up Funds. This program is a funder of last resort. If you have questions about Funds for You, contact the TBI Program at WVUCED at 877-724-8244 or TBI@hsc.wvu.edu.

Advocacy Services

One of DRWV’s federally funded programs focuses on advocacy and outreach for individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). DRWV provides advocacy for people of any age with a TBI who are experiencing possible abuse, neglect, or rights restrictions in the following systems: school/education; work; access to assistive technology; access to programs & services in their home and community (Medicaid waivers, Personal Care services, etc.); housing rights (service/emotional support animal access, reasonable accommodations/modifications, etc.); Independent Living services; supported decision making; voting rights; etc. DRWV also completes trainings on Self-Advocacy, Supported Decision Making and other topics upon request.

If you, or someone you know has a TBI and has questions or concerns, please call DRWV at 800-950-5250.

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