Quantico, Va. --
In the days leading up to the 2017 Invictus Games, 17 allied nations gathered to discuss warrior care on an international scale. The International Warrior Care Symposium, held in Toronto, focused on developing strategies for standardizing best practices in warrior care. We sat down with Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Koren, deputy regimental surgeon, Wounded Warrior Regiment, to discuss what she learned and what she sees for the future of warrior care. Though there are no recovering service members assigned to the Wounded Warrior Regiment at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Dr. Koren supports both battalions at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton. She assures us that care is in place for our Marines and Sailors, and they have access to all the resources they need.
With a theme of “recovery, reintegration and resiliency,” the symposium aimed to find the best ways to help wounded, ill, and injured service members recover and reintegrate back to full duty in the military or transition to civilian life — and, most importantly, find ways to build resilience prior to action.
Currently, there is not an international standard of care because so much of the granular pieces are resources based, and many nations do not access to the resources that the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have for warrior care.
In speaking about the mental health approaches, Dr. Koren says, “There is not a one size fits all approach, so the more options we can give a patient, the more likely we are going to find the option, or combination of treatments that’s going to fit and help them personally improve.” We are fortunate to have many options to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other mental health issues.
While sitting in a discussion session at the symposium with a team of Canadian case managers, they discussed how there are almost too many options. “Now, we are trying to develop systems to help recovering service members sort through to figure out what is the best option. What a great place to be in!” Dr. Koren says. “There is care to be given — which is fantastic. Not every country is lucky enough to have this particular problem.”
“The more diverse or robust the treatment, the more successful it can be,” she adds.
There are weekly news articles about advancements in treating PTSD and TBIs, but the majority of those are not Department of Defense or Food and Drug Administration approved. Dr. Koren has high hopes that these advancements continue to be researched, but cautioned that safety is a concern when using new treatments.
If you have questions about treating PTSD or TBI, we are hear to help. The Sergeant Merlin German Wounded Warrior Call Center is open 24/7 at 877–487–6299, and is always available to provide resources and support to wounded, ill, and injured Marines, Sailors, their families and caregivers. Please visit us at our new website http://www.woundedwarrior.marines.mil/ to find out more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment.