December 15, 2017
 
Brain Injury Association of Mass. Collaborating in $1M Grant

September 12, 2016 — The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts based in Westborough, which supports brain injury survivors and their families and engages in prevention and education programs to reduce brain injuries, recently announced it is partnering with state agencies in connection with a $1 million grant to maximize resources for elders who have sustained a traumatic brain injury.

The four-year federal grant is funding a partnership between Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA), the state's Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), which received the funds.

“Over the past two years BIA-MA has partnered with MRC and EOEA to share resources and perform cross-agency training,” said BIA-MA Executive Director Nicole Godaire. “During this time, close to 500 professionals have been educated on working with this population as well as training on a screening tool to assist in identifying brain injury.”

The professionals receiving training are from the Aging Services Access Points, which are regional agencies that provide services to people over 60 and the Independent Living Centers, which provide services to people all ages and disabilities.

“Now that these professionals have been trained in the Metrowest and the northeast, the hope is that more elders with brain injury will be identified and connected to resources” says Sandy Biber, director of Community Based Services, a state agency that offers services to help with learning and using skills, community involvement and quality of life.

According to BIA-MA, traumatic brain injury (TBI) among older adults is one of the leading causes of death and disability in Massachusetts. Falls are the leading cause of TBI in adults 60 and older with approximately 16,000 elders in Massachusetts sustaining a TBI this year. The organization noted that 50% of all hospitalizations for TBI occur in this age group with numbers expecting to increase as “baby boomers” age and life expectancies increase.

"Both detection and treatment of a brain injury are complicated by factors that affect older populations such as pre-existing medical conditions and in some cases, multiple medications. To improve rehabilitation outcomes, and ultimately the quality of life, for this population, both their needs as an aging adult and their needs specific to brain injury must be addressed simultaneously," said BIA-MA.

Regional trainings on brain injury will be offered to the public for free, with continued education credits available for nurses, social workers, and case managers, as follows:
  • October 24th Ad-Lib in Pittsfield, 9 am – 1pm
  • October 25th Cummings Center, Beverly, 10 am – 2-pm
  • November 8th Mystic Valley Elder Services in Malden, 10 am – 2pm
  • November 14th Elder Services of the Worcester Area (ESWA), Worcester, 10 am – 2pm
BIA-MA annually provides support, information and resources to approximately 14,000 survivors, families and medical professionals. BIA-MA sponsors more than 40 support groups throughout Massachusetts which provides a forum for sharing information about brain injury and an opportunity to meet others who share similar experiences and concerns. It also organizes a variety of educational, recreational and social activities..

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