GLEN COVE, NY – To meet the increasing needs of patients requiring intensive brain injury treatment, Glen Cove Hospital today opened a new $4 million, 10,000-square-foot Brain Injury Unit (BIU).
Every year, about 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury, causing 52,000 deaths and contributing to a substantial number of cases of permanent disability, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New York State alone, more than 12,000 people are hospitalized annually with a traumatic brain injury. In addition, acquired brain injuries, such as stroke or brain aneurysm, can also disrupt the normal brain function causing mild to severe symptoms.
The BIU is the only New York State-designated, hospital-based, adult brain injury rehabilitation center in Nassau County. Rehabilitation specialists will treat patients from age 17 to elderly patients with a range of brain injuries, including complex stroke, brain hemorrhage, brain tumors and other brain injury-related conditions, as well as traumatic brain injuries, such as those caused by motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports-related concussions and violence.
“The goal of the program is to help patients recover as optimally as possible and facilitate their return to the most active and highest level of their functioning after an acquired or traumatic brain injury,” said Barry Root, MD, Glen Cove Hospital’s chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation. “Patients will benefit from a multidisciplinary clinical team, including a physiatrist with specialty training in brain injury medicine; a neuropsychologist; psychiatrists; physical, speech, recreational and occupational therapists; rehabilitation nurses and social workers.”
The 10-bed unit includes eight single rooms furnished with sleep sofas for overnight visitors and one double room. The new facility includes a modern-designed physical therapy gym, occupational therapy treatment area and a studio apartment, complete with kitchen and laundry area, so patients are able to practice activities of daily living. Also included in the new unit are private speech therapy treatment rooms, a recreational therapy activity room and a restorative dining room.
“Brain injury is a process; it is not just a single event,” Adam B. Stein, MD, chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the North Shore-LIJ Health System, said at a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the facility’s opening. “Achieving the best outcomes for patients affected by brain injury requires an integrated team of medical and rehabilitation specialists. We are fortunate to be part of a comprehensive health system that can provide the full continuum of care, from acute management by neurosurgeons, neurologists and physiatrists to inpatient rehabilitation to home and community-based care.” The brain injury center staff will work closely with neurovascular and trauma surgeons at North Shore University Hospital, LIJ Medical Center and other hospitals to provide “seamless care and communication,” as patients transition from the acute hospital to rehabilitation and to home, said Dr. Stein.
“It is critically important for family members to be part of the care team, because brain injury can cause ongoing disability in terms of physical, emotional, cognitive and personality changes,” explained Dr. Root “The more we work with patients and their families during treatment, the smoother and safer reintegration back to the community will be.”
At Friday's opening, Zachary Young, 23, of Plainview, shared his story of recovery after sustaining a brain injury and sudden cardiac arrest in December 2011, which caused him to lose oxygen to the brain. After two hospitalizations and getting implanted with a defibrillator to regulate his heart beat, Mr. Young received treatment at Glen Cove’s rehabilitation unit in January 2012, noting that “having my family and friends nearby to visit made things a lot easier.” At the time, he was a senior at Binghamton University. “I feel like I got a second chance,” said Mr. Young.
Due to his brain injury, he experienced physical and cognitive challenges, including difficulty walking, writing, talking and memory issues. He and his family were not sure if he’d ever graduate college or drive a car again. After three weeks of intensive rehabilitation at Glen Cove, Mr. Young continued his recovery and graduated from college in December 2012. “Although I have slight physical limitations, my life has gotten better…I have more conviction in my studying and my family has gotten closer,” he said.
Mr. Young is fulfilling his dream to become a lawyer and has been accepted to several law schools. “My family and I will soon be deciding which school I’ll be attending in September,” he added.
North Shore-LIJ’s Southside Hospital in Bay Shore also has an inpatient brain injury unit, which together with Glen Cove’s program, provides a greater ability to keep patients closer to their family members and loved ones.
For more information about Glen Cove’s Brain Injury Unit, please contact the Rehabilitation admission’s office at 516-674-7692.