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Bethesda Takes New Approach to Treating OIF Wounded

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040430-08

Release Date: 5/1/2004 10:09:00 AM

By Corey Schultz, National Naval Medical Center Public Affairs

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Marines and Sailors wounded in battle and treated at the National Naval Medical Center can expect a comprehensive approach to health care.

This new program, implemented at the end of March, is now being used for all new Operation Iraqi Freedom patients. Health care providers are focused on individual patient needs for rehabilitation, psychological counseling, and family support, instead of only healing the wound and releasing the patient.

"Everyone is involved in the care of the patient," said Capt. Raquel C. Bono, director of the Medical-Surgical Directorate. "As soon as the casualty comes in, the Multi-Disciplinary Team meets and projects what the patient's needs will be beyond hospitalization."

This process makes patient care planning more efficient and enables the hospital to effectively allocate resources. Bono said the ultimate goal is to follow up with the patient after discharge from the hospital.

"This is an ongoing process predicated on the casualty's response," said Bono. "As we identify additional needs, we must be able to bend and flex to meet them."

A great deal of recovery depends on the support the patients get, emotionally and mentally, Bono added. "Taking care of families is a very important aspect," Bono said.

Family members are involved in health care discussions early on in the treatment, since they help the patient through the hospitalization and are a large part of the recovery.

The flexibility of the Multi-Disciplinary Team is another benefit, ensuring when any changes in condition or additional needs arise throughout the course of treatment, they will be met expediently. A patient's condition is reassessed daily.

"Things we're doing today, we're putting in place for all our other patients - not just casualties," said Bono. "We'll anticipate needs beyond their episodic care.. Once we get into the habit, this will be something we give to everyone."

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