Brain Injury and Working with Hispanic Families of Returning Wounded Warriors

This neuropsychologist shares his experience and advice about culture, ethnicity, and brain injury rehab. Transcript of this video.

Hispanic families and traumatic brain injury where the military is involved, where a soldier has come back wounded with a traumatic brain injury, I think one of the most important things that professionals need to keep in mind is that of course the soldier will have a certain level of English ability because they needed that to be in the military, but their family might not. And the soldier's level of acculturation, they will have that common experience of the military, and we have some expectation, both of a level of education and of knowledge of various things, but the family may be very different. And the professionals working with that population may be somewhat less used to that kind of work and may need to make sure that they've got some of the skills of working with interpreters, that they've got some of the cultural background that they'll need to understand that and that importance of involving the family in that way. One of my own experiences in what I've seen so far in looking at the efforts with regard to traumatic brain injury with the military is that there's been inadequate involvement of family in general, both in evaluation and in treatment, and we really need to beef up that component of things. I've heard it said that the Army said, "If the Army had intended you to have a family, "they would have issued you one." [chuckles] And yet we really need to pay more attention to that and the great importance that family serves for Hispanic wounded veterans and that perhaps the education piece and so forth is going to need to get back to fundamentals in certain ways, and take extra time and reach out, perhaps even to the point of making calls to other countries to be able to really involve the family in an appropriate way.
Posted on BrainLine April 29, 2009.