Brain Injury Awareness Month

Last issue, we told you about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. March is also Brain Injury Awareness Month. Developmental disabilities and brain injuries can be directly related. More than 5.3 million Americans have a disability related to a traumatic brain injury. The most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls, assaults, drownings, substance use and overdoses, car accidents, and other blows to the head. Brain injuries can change the way you Think, Act, Move, and Feel.

The Change Your Mind campaign is a call to action for everyone, everywhere to join the Brain Injury Association of America in improving care and support for individuals with brain injuries and their families. Another goal is to increase awareness and understanding of brain injury and the Brain Injury Association. The #ChangeYourMind campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families. The campaign also lends itself to outreach within the brain injury community to de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available. The campaign recognizes and supports the vital role family members, caregivers, researchers, and professional clinicians play in the lives of people with brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

  • Traumatic brain injuries contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths
  • Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries including a brain injury
  • Survivors of brain injuries can face effects that last a few days, or the rest of their lives
  • Effects may include impaired thinking or memory, movement, vision or hearing, or emotional functioning like personality changes and depression
  • Brain injuries not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities

For more information, please visit the Brain Injury Association of America. If you or someone you know needs help with intellectual or developmental disabilities services, give Partners a call at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673) to see how we may help.

Enrollee Navigator – Relative as a Direct Support Employee

Sometimes relatives and guardians can provide Community Living and Supports services for someone on the Innovations Waiver. They are called Relatives as a Direct Support Employee (RADSE).

Community Living and Supports services keep members on Innovations living in the home they choose. Sometimes, such as in very rural settings, Community Living and Supports services are not available from a provider. To teach the Innovations recipient independent living skills, provide proper supervision, and create support systems in the community, the relative or guardian is hired to perform the services.

Only Innovations Waiver participants 18 and older can have a relative provide services. In order to be a Relatives as a Direct Support Employee, the relative or guardian must live in the same home as the person on the Waiver, but they can’t be the spouse of the participant. Also, if the relative or guardian is an employer as part of the Individual Family Directed option, they cannot become a direct support employee.

The typical relative does not provide services more than 40 hours per week. Relatives and waiver participants requesting more hours will have to prove the services are not available from any other provider, but also ensure the individual will not be isolated in the home.

Services delivered by RADSE go through an approval process and are monitored monthly by care coordination staff to be sure the person on the waiver is having their needs met in the best possible fashion.

All necessary forms, documents, and applications are on the RADSE page in our Provider Knowledge Base.

To find out more about RADSE, see the NC Division of Medical Assistance Clinical Coverage Policy No: 8-P, Attachment F, or speak with the consumer’s provider.

In the Community 

Burke Substance Abuse Network Monthly Free Breakfast Meeting

Burke Substance Abuse Network holds it next monthly breakfast meeting on Friday, March 23, at 7:30 a.m., at The Morganton Community House, 120 N. King St., Morganton, NC. Guest Speaker Cameron Houser will discuss the “Personal Effect of Substance Use and the Lasting Impact.” Please share with friends, family, and colleagues – all are welcome to attend! RSVP to Kim James at

Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Children

First In Families of NC, Camp Sertoma of Gaston County, and the Gastonia Evening Rotary Club are sponsoring this Easter egg hunt for children age 12 and under with developmental disabilities. The hunt is on Saturday March 24, 2018, at 2 p.m., at Camp Sertoma, 135 Camp Sertoma Rd., Dallas, NC. Call 704-689-6648 for more information.

Community Training for Alternatives to Guardianship

Partners Training Academy and Disability Rights North Carolina present Community Training for Alternatives to Guardianship: Supported, Not Supplanted Decision-Making, on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. As a parent or loved one of a person with a disability, you’ve been their fiercest ally, protector, and advocate. What happens when he or she turns 18 and is legally an adult? If you are considering guardianship or are currently a guardian, one of these sessions is a must for you. We will explore how to provide just the right amount of support for people with disabilities as they make good and bad decisions, and grow and learn from them all. Register or find more information online here

TWO CHANCES TO ATTEND – Wednesday, March 28, 2018:
10 a.m.–12 p.m., Gastonia Corporate Office: 901 S. New Hope Rd., Gastonia, NC 28054
3–5 p.m., Hickory Regional Office: 1985 Tate Boulevard SE, Hickory, NC 28602

Gaston County Community Health Assessment

Every three years, Gaston County conducts a Community Health Assessment so residents can identify the issues that they feel the community should address. All county residents from each of the 13 municipal towns have a chance to share their opinion.

Complete the survey at

The survey will be open until May 31. All answers are completely anonymous. If you have any questions about the survey, please call Yvonne Boafo at 704-853-5097 or Abby Newton at 704-853-5103 at the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services.

Partners Health Summit: TREATING the OPIOID CRISIS

Learn about local solutions and treatments for North Carolina’s Opioid Epidemic at this free educational conference, sponsored by Partners Behavioral Health Management. Keynote Speaker Dr. Omar Manejwala presents “The Opioid Epidemic – A Wicked Problem,” – about the complicated, poorly understood opioid crisis in the U.S. The summit is on April 6, 2018, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Hickory Metro Convention Center, 1960 13th Ave. Drive SE, Hickory, NC 28602. ADMISSION IS FREE! Find out more and register at


The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) is a personalized wellness and recovery system rooted in the principle of self-determination. WRAP® is a wellness and recovery approach that helps people to:

  • decrease and prevent intrusive or troubling feelings and behaviors
  • increase personal empowerment
  • improve quality of life
  • achieve their own life goals and dreams

Working with a WRAP® can help individuals to monitor uncomfortable and distressing feelings and behaviors and, through planned responses, reduce, modify, or eliminate those feelings. The training is April 26-27, 2018, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., at Partners’ Gastonia Corporate Office, 901 S. New Hope Rd., Gastonia, NC. An application must be submitted and approved to attend this free training. Visit for registration and application information.

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 3 – Issue 16
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