KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Shepherd Center specializes in a whole host of treatments, from spinal cord injury to brain injury and other conditions.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputy Lucas Shoffner is being treated by the center for his injuries after being hit by a truck.
The center couldn’t talk about specific treatment for Shoffner, but Chief Medical Officer Michael Yochelson said patients with brain injury who emerge from a coma will receive an extensive evaluation to form a treatment plan.
“They will initiate treatment by all of the appropriate disciplines which will include physical and occupational therapy, language pathology, they will have neuropsychology involved –obviously when a patient is at a very low level of function, early on, the mental health services are more for the family but also for patient care on a daily basis as they emerge,” said Yochelson.
Yochelson shared that the average stay for an acquired brain injury patient is 55 to 60 days, but for some, who have been in a coma, that stay could increase to more like 90 days. There is housing for family members who have to travel to Atlanta.
“The family is an integral part of the team. One of the things that makes us unique is also our housing, we do have family housing for patient families that are coming from more than 60 miles away so that they can be here every single day and be part of the team. That includes training with the therapist and the psychologist. We also have a family counselor,” said Yochelson.
The center was founded in 1975. Today it treats more than 743 inpatients, 277-day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year.
One notable patient treated at the center was American Idol contestant David Francisco who was critically injured when hit by a car while biking in Nashville. He gives a lot of credit to the center for his ability to walk again.