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Developing a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center: A Pioneer Experience in Building, Staffing, and Training

MacLennan, Diane MS RN CRRN1; Clausen, Shawna BSN RN CRRN2; Pagel, Nina MSN RN CRRN2; Avery, Jack D. MA CCC/SLP2; Sigford, Barbara MD PhD5; MacLennan, Donald MA CCC/SLP6; Mahowald, Rita MSN RNBC5

doi: 10.1002/j.2048-7940.2008.tb00228.x

The military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in patterns of injury not commonly seen in previous conflicts. Improvised explosive devices are the primary weapon, and exposure to blast is the most common mechanism of injury. Blasts can result in polytrauma injury, in which multiple body systems, including the head and brain, are injured. Nursing and rehabilitation care can be further challenged by other blast sequelae such as pain, amputation, blindness or low vision, hearing impairment, and aphasia. This article describes the process by which one Veterans Affairs Medical Center developed its inpatient rehabilitation service into a polytrauma rehabilitation center to meet the medical and rehabilitation needs of these patients. Special attention is given to the education and training program developed to solidify the membership of the center's nursing staff in the interdisciplinary treatment team.

1 Minneapolis VA Medical Center Polytrauma Network Site, Minneapolis, MN

2 Minneapolis VA Medical Center Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, Minneapolis, MN

5 Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN

6 Minneapolis VA Medical Center Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Program, Minneapolis, MN

Correspondence to

© 2008 Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.
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