In February of 2009, Richard Ottum, a 24-year-old US Army E-4 Specialist on leave, was involved in a serious automobile accident resulting in multiple injuries, including a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Richard spent several weeks in a coma following the accident, and, upon awakening found himself experiencing severe cognitive and physical deficits as a result of his TBI.
“My VA case manager helped me to get funding for rehabilitation with NeuroRestorative,” said Richard. Now 27, Richard has been a resident of NeuroRestorative Avalon Park, the only transitional living facility of its kind designed specifically to serve individuals with brain or spinal cord injury, for one year.
“When Richard first came to us he had some cognitive impairment with his attention, memory and ability to process information, as well as physical challenges such as weakness, and vision and hearing loss,” said Shannon Fimple, Program Case Manager for NeuroRestorative Avalon Park. “He has come a long way.”
At NeuroRestorative Avalon Park, Richard has been able to move along the continuum of post-acute rehabilitation and care options as he has progressed in his rehabilitation. He has now qualified for NeuroRestorative Avalon Park’s supported living program and is preparing to move into one of the program’s new apartments located just upstairs from the day and residential programs where he currently resides.
“The good thing about NeuroRestorative is that I get the right mixture of freedom and support,” says Richard. “I am always going into the Avalon Park community to run errands, go grocery shopping, whatever, and my therapists are there to help me if I need them.”
When Richard moves into his new apartment, he will have his own private kitchen, laundry and living space. And he will continue to have access to the day treatment programs downstairs for his medical and therapy needs such as occupational, physical and speech therapy. He’ll also be able to continue to socialize with the other participants at NeuroRestorative Avalon Park, some of whom are fellow Veterans.
“Because everyone else here also has a brain injury and we’ve had similar experiences, we are able to relate to one another,” said Richard. “Some have been in the service so we can identify with each other and talk about our time in the military. I think the new apartment will give me even more independence and I am really looking forward to that.”
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