Domestic Violence Brain Injury Program
Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are often associated with athletes and military veterans, but the brain injury team at Barrow Neurological Institute recognized a group of underserved patients: survivors of domestic violence.
The Barrow Concussion & Brain Injury Center created the Domestic Violence Brain Injury Program, the first of its kind in the nation, in 2012 to identify and treat women and men with traumatic brain injuries caused by domestic abuse.
Through compassionate care, education, and research, the program has changed the lives of hundreds of patients.
To request an appointment or learn more about the program, please call (602) 406-4323.
The heart of the domestic violence program is the expert care provided to patients for free, regardless of their insurance coverage, thanks to generous donations and grant funds. All patients at our clinic are evaluated by a neurologist who specializes in brain injury and connected with a social worker for help navigating the health care system.
With a variety of neurological experts on our campus, we are able to provide comprehensive treatment for traumatic brain injury patients. Our other specialties include:
- Headache treatment
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech cognitive therapy
- Sports medicine
Because most of the patients seen through our domestic violence program have never been evaluated or treated for their brain injuries, our team strives to spend extra time with each of them.
The Barrow Concussion & Brain Injury Center leads the nation in concussion education programs for athletes. We are continuing our commitment to brain injury education with the domestic violence program. Our outreach efforts include:
- Brains Club – An occupational speech therapist holds a cognitive retraining class at some of our partner shelters to help shelter residents improve their memory, concentration, and executive function skills such as organization and planning.
- Education – We provide education to medical providers, locally and nationally, and people in the domestic violence support community regarding traumatic brain injury in individuals who have been abused and how to identify the signs.
- Partnerships – We collaborate with other local domestic violence organizations to raise awareness about the importance of detecting and treating traumatic brain injuries in people who have experienced domestic violence. These organizations include the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona.
Our team is conducting clinical research to raise awareness about and improve treatment for traumatic brain injuries in domestic violence survivors.
The findings from the team’s initial study of 115 domestic violence patients were staggering:
- 81 percent of the patients suffered “too many head injuries to count”
- Only 21 percent had sought medical care at the time of at least one of their injuries
- 60 percent of people who suffered domestic violence as a child went on to be abused as adults
- Behavioral and mood symptoms were the most severe traumatic brain injury symptoms reported, followed by cognitive and physical symptoms
Other areas of study include outcomes of cognitive speech therapy, posttraumatic headache, and the potential for long-term neurodegenerative disease.