Twenty new Certified Brain Injury Specialists across ChildServe

Concussions and brain injuries turn life upside down. The impact of a severe traumatic brain injury, or even a mild brain injury like a concussion, goes beyond physical pain or dizziness. They often bring emotional distress, sleep disturbances, psychological or memory issues, and much more. Children or young adults who experience traumatic brain injuries need support from experts who understand all these effects.

This spring, twenty ChildServe nurses, therapists, case managers, and social workers chose to become Certified Brain Injury Specialists. By earning this certification, they will be able to help even more kids and young adults get back to their normal activities after experiencing a brain injury. This additional education allows staff to provide better diagnostics and treatment to help a child progress to their highest functional level possible, as well as to identify other possible referrals that may be beneficial.

“At ChildServe, we look at the whole child and the whole family,” said Carrie Van Quathem, Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation. “When it comes to brain injury, that’s even more important because of the complexity of the injury. It impacts so many areas of life – both for the child who was injured and the people who support that child.”

To become a Certified Brain Injury Specialist, professionals must first have had 500 hours of direct care experience for treating children or young adults with brain injuries. Next, they must pass a difficult exam proctored by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists. Of the test takers nationwide, only 40% usually receive a passing grade on the first try.

“Having staff that are Certified Brain Injury Specialists adds to the high level of care we strive to provide to the community.”

This year, ChildServe partnered with the Iowa Association of Community Providers, Community Neuro Rehab, and On With Life to provide an in-house, college-level course led by experts from multiple healthcare agencies. The course, held in ChildServe’s training center, included 30 hours of instruction over ten weeks and was designed to give caregivers in-depth knowledge on brain injuries.

Despite the challenge and time commitment involved with becoming a Certified Brain Injury Specialist, ChildServe Physical Therapist and Certified Brain Injury Specialist Laura Van Dusseldorp still sees it as well-worth the effort.

“Having staff that are Certified Brain Injury Specialists adds to the high level of care we strive to provide to the community,” said Laura. “So many pediatric diagnoses are classified under the brain injury umbrella. In the world of pediatric therapy being a specialist can make the world of difference in care, coordination, and treatment.”

For those like Laura who received certification, the biggest benefits come down to the ability to provide better care to the families and children she serves at ChildServe.

“By furthering my understanding of brain injury, I provide the families of children on my caseload with the peace of mind that I am committed to excellence in evaluation, treatment, and best practices.”

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ChildServe improves the health and well-being of nearly 5,800 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, injuries, and other special healthcare needs.

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