By Lynn Brouwers, MS, CRC, CBIST
Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers
A Leader in Brain Injury Rehabilitation Education
Supporting the Brain Injury Association of America’s effort to assure high quality post-acute care
Survival after severe brain injury was a medical accomplishment that occurred during our lifetime. However, health professionals soon discovered that brain injury recovery was a unique and difficult process for the person who survived, their family members, and for health providers. Treatment was haphazard, and access to medical rehabilitation was limited because “people with traumatic brain injuries didn’t cooperate and couldn’t learn.”
Nearly 30 years ago, a survey was sent out to over 500 hospitals, nursing facilities, and post-acute residential programs regarding the training needs of persons providing brain injury rehabilitation services. The results drove the work of a committed group of professionals to rectify the lack of a consistent staff training approach.
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) established the American Academy for Brain Injury Certification (ACBIS) in 1996. This voluntary national certification program established best practices for the training of individuals working with this population.
In 2004, Rainbow was one of 11 nationally recognized rehabilitation programs that supported the development of brain injury specialist certification by serving as a founding member on its Corporate Advisory Council. In 2005, Rainbow leadership joined the ACBIS Board of Governors and served for over 10 years.
Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers’ leadership lent its professional staff in areas of creative design, clinical educational development, and editorial skills to the development of the published training curriculum called the Essential Brain Injury Guide. With the most recent edition, Rainbow leaders served as production editor, and technical editors.
At the state level, Rainbow’s leadership was integral to Michigan achieving the status of having the most Certified Brain Injury Specialists (CBIS) of any state. Rainbow was one of a handful of programs that worked with the Brain Injury Association of Michigan to bring this organized training and examination to the state. Rainbow employees volunteered their time to train and proctor exams. This led to a formal education award from the Brain Injury Association in 2006.
Locally, since 2009, Rainbow opened its bi-annual certification training program to other professionals who partner with Rainbow in serving people with Brain Injury. Case managers, therapists and nurses from referring hospitals, insurance adjusters, medical office personnel, and many others have joined Rainbow employees in working towards certification. Nearly 300 external participants have benefited.
Currently, Rainbow has seven Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainers serving as mentors and trainers internally and externally. The preparation course continues to be offered for free and is approved for 14 nursing and case manager CEs. The next class will be scheduled in the spring of 2018. If you are a professional who partners with Rainbow, you have an open invitation to join us!
- The Brain Injury Association of America: biausa.org/acbis
- CBIS Exam Prep Flashcards: rainbowrehab.com/cbis-exam-prep-handouts