Rebuilding Veterans' Futures with Spinal Cord Research

Steve Adubato goes on-location to Kessler Foundation’s “Rebuilding Futures for our Nation’s Heroes” event to speak with Denise Fyffe, Senior Research Scientist, Kessler Foundation & Assistant Research Professor, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School about her current spinal cord research and how it relates to veteran care.

8/6/18 #2156






"We are, in fact, speaking with Doctor Denise Fyffe, who is part of the forum tonight at Kessler Foundation, talking about veterans, their issues, particularly those with spinal cord injuries. For those who may not be familiar with your research, could you talk about it? Sure. So Steve, my study is really working with spinal cord injured veterans at Kessler, and the East Orange VA, that is the VA of New Jersey Health Care System... Both organizations? Yes. So what we've noticed is that there are some veterans who are at Kessler, who don't even know about access to care at the VA. These are veterans who were probably injured many years after they served in the military, and haven't had much... haven't actually... they have private insurance, but haven't really used the VA for their healthcare services. And so what we found is that after a spinal cord injury, we know it's a very costly injury to live with. With many... Because? Because of the medical complications that are associated with the injury, including pressure ulcers, including the need for a wheelchair, that in terms of spasticity and medications, pain management, those kinds of things all complicate the... a person living with the injury, as well as wanting to get back into your home after such a traumatic injury. So there's, you know, being in the hospital... so picture it Steve, a veteran is at Kessler, they've been injured in a motor vehicle accident, and now... They're rehabbing? They're getting their rehab at Kessler. And they're due to go back home. But, you know, going back home requires a lot of adjustment. Your home needs to be modified. What if your wheelchair can't fit through the door? Well, interestingly enough, through our work, my work with the East Orange VA, what we've learned is that there are opportunities for access to resources that will adjust their home, provide them with a wheelchair, give them opportunities in terms of aid and attendant, to help them in their homes. So that's not just helping them, that's helping them and their families. And so our study is actually working with the spinal cord injured veterans, as well as their caregivers, in their homes, to learn more about access to these supportive, kind of, resources. And really, it's filling out a really important gap in terms of their care. I'm curious about the impact of service connected disability compensation. This issue keeps coming up a lot, and I don't know what that means. And I don't... I'm not sure folks at home know what it means. Yeah. Sure. So after... when a spinal cord..."