NICoENational Intrepid Center of Excellence (Defense Centers of Excellence; Bethesda, MD)
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He refers to NICoE, which opened in October of 2010 with funding from the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, as the "mother ship," as it was also the model for other Intrepid Spirit centers treating Invisible Wounds at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Hood, Texas; and Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
In our model, this NICoE model, we are using an interdisciplinary team and they're seeing the patient all together, all at once," Junker said.
Thomas DeGraba, chief innovations officer at NICoE, is in charge of advancing the treatment of patients who have the combined processes of TBI, PTSD, depression, anxiety and chronic pain.
The NICoE is distinguished by the number of programs co-located under one roof, enabling a more comprehensive care approach, including diagnostic facilities for neurology, neuropsychology, brain imaging, electro-diagnostic assessment, treatment and rehabilitation, cognitive/occupational/physical therapy, robotics and telemedicine, as well as a human blood and tissue sample repository.
Rather than bringing the patient to the services, the NICoE brings the services to the patient within diagnostic and clinical "pods," which allow multiple rehabilitation activities to be conducted concurrently within and immediately adjacent, facilitating visibility and interaction for patients, families and caregivers.
The NICoE, which occupies roughly the same footprint and location as the original building occupying the site, was sited to preserve the views and amenities of an expansive and elegant manicured lawn to the west.
NICoE communications are rated carrier class via the Avaya Aura(TM) Application Server 5300, which provides the capability for a JITC-certified secure, mission critical and standards-based Unified Communications solution.
Medical personnel at NICOE will treat the most severe TBI cases using a range of resources, including neurology, neuropsychology, psychology, psychiatry, cognitive therapy and pharmacological therapy departments, as well as an occupational therapy gym, gait lab, outdoor and sight rehabilitation spaces, vehicle and firearm simulators and a virtual-reality room.
The most recent symposium, "Sensory and Communication impairments," took place at the NICoE on the National Naval Medical Center campus in Bethesda, Md.
When a warrior and family leaves the NICoE, they leave with an individualized plan for improvement and long-term follow up," said DeGraba.
Another aspect of NICoE is that it incorporates a holistic medical approach into care and uses treatments to include meditation, music and art therapy, yoga and spiritual exercises, said DeGraba.
Although NICoE left the symposium participants in awe, it paled in comparison to the lecturers who had made the journey to share their experiences and expertise with us.