Ross Zafonte, DO: Treatments at the Home Base Program Individualized, Not Cookie Cutter

The Home Base program, which includes comprehensive assessments and a two-week immersion into therapies and treatments for TBI, PTSD, and other conditions, is created anew for each veteran or service member who joins. Whether engaging in physical or cognitive therapeutic interventions, learning how better to communicate with family and friends, or delving into art therapies, each individual becomes part of a strong and supportive community of people who understand their experiences, though everyone’s experiences and issues are unique and treated as such.

Dr. Ross Zafonte is the Chief of Traumatic Brain Injury for Home Base, part of the Wounded Warrior Project's Warrior Care Network.

For information about treatments for brain injury please visit The Treatment Hub.

I think if a veteran enrolls in the program, what they’re going to get is a program just for them. And that’s really what I would say. It’s not cookie cutter and so many resources have been really devoted to saying each individual is different. We do a broad assessment to say “Mr. Smith may need something different than Ms. Jones. How do we focus in on what they need?” And everything from physical therapy to cognitive therapy to an intervention, be it procedural or medication. How do we develop a unique plan for that particular person? So they’re going to be busy, that’s for sure. They’ll be busy with everything from their therapeutic intervention, team based behavioral interventions, getting a re-acquaintance, an assessment of self, art-based therapies, other therapies that we focus on that try to evoke the person and involve their family. So, the Home Based program exists as several different programs, one of which is an assessment program, another of which is a two-week intensive program, a two week intensive program in which they get enough therapy that’s almost a year’s worth. Right? So it philosophically functions almost like we do immersion work in language or other, helping people get a bearing on what are their critical issues. How do we up-regulate their resilience? How do we up-regulate their ability to cope in their community? How do we ameliorate the physical functions that are, in some ways, impairing their ability to function? And so, they are busy all day and evening long, that’s one thing. And there are a number of comprehensive sorts of multi-disciplinary day programs that they’re involved with, different providers, different provider assessments. And then, most importantly, they become part of a community, a community of other people who are there getting assessed, other veterans who are like them. And that simple sense of community and intense exposure really does make a difference for people. BrainLine is powered in part by Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families.

Posted on BrainLine October 6, 2021. Reviewed October 6, 2021.

About the author: Ross D. Zafonte, DO

Dr. Ross Zafonte is the Clinical and Research Leader for Traumatic Brain Injury at the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. He is the Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, vice president of Medical Affairs at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at MGH.

Headshot of Dr. Ross D. Zafonte