VHA provides the most comprehensive setting for medical care for Veterans. By serving Veterans, and only Veterans, the clinicians who work in our medical facilities have come to understand the unique needs of those who’ve served and have designed care systems to meet those needs. The Polytrauma System of Care, marking its 10th anniversary this year, exemplifies that and demonstrates a tangible level of success in improving the lives of severely wounded Veterans.

You may ask, what exactly is polytrauma? Polytrauma is defined as two or more injuries that affect multiple parts of the body or organs and result in physical, cognitive, and/or psychological impairments and functional disabilities. Polytrauma patients frequently also have Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).

I take great pride in working with the dedicated teams of physicians, physical and occupational therapists, audiologists, nurses, psychologists and social workers (among many others) who represent the Polytrauma System of Care (PSC). We established PSC when we recognized the need and we have helped thousands of Veterans heal both physically and mentally and go on to live fulfilling lives despite their life-long challenges.  This is what makes our work so gratifying.

For ten years, the Polytrauma System of Care has had a direct, positive impact on the lives of Veterans and their families. Helping Veterans with amputations learn to drive again, teaching Veterans how to manage their bank accounts and travel by public transportation, sharing the thrill of a blinded Veteran golfing or skiing for the first time, these are just a few of the hundreds of ways in which the Polytrauma System of Care helps lives.

When you think of the work you do for VA, whether you are part of a polytrauma team or not, remember the significant difference you can and do make for Veterans. I can imagine no more fulfilling work.


HeadshotAbout the Author: Dr. Joel Scholten us the National Director, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at VA

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