As integration between the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) and Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) quickly approaches, the hospital and Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) remain committed to the wounded warrior continuum of care, providing various support services to meet their needs and to accommodate their loved ones.
"The relocation of Walter Reed to Bethesda is a monumental task and it will not be easy, but the NSA (Naval Support Activity) Bethesda team has done a lot of hard work to make it possible and I have no doubt it will run smoothly. Ultimately, the establishment of a national military medical center in Bethesda will result in more efficient and better care for our service members," said Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge, Commandant, Naval District Washington.
Amongst the many offerings at the integrated facility, there will be a new wounded warrior barracks, Tranquility Hall, offering housing to wounded warriors. Each of the 153, two-bedroom suites will include a kitchenette, washer and dryer and a lounge area, allowing outpatients to stay with a non-medical attendant. In addition, the barracks will house an Austin's Playroom, a drop-in activity center, which will provide certified childcare providers for not only those staying in the barracks, but also personnel in need of temporary child care when they attend medical appointments.
NSAB also plans to begin building an additional lodging facility, Sanctuary Hall, for wounded warriors and their families later this year. In a more secluded area of the base, located on the current site of Building 141, the 200-bed facility will have single and two bedroom suites. Beside this facility, there will be a new garage with roughly 460 spaces.
Also on base, the Navy Lodge and Fisher Houses ensure patients can focus on treatment, and rest assured their families are in good hands. The five Fisher Houses at NSAB the most on a base within the Department of Defense provide families a place to stay at no cost. Each of the three new homes has 20 rooms, each that are complementary to the existing homes. All houses include common areas, communal dining, family rooms and play rooms for children.
Operating under the Navy Exchange Service Command, the Navy Lodge at NSAB, which recently underwent renovations, is a self-sustaining business that offers 106 guest rooms. The lodge as well as the Fisher Houses allow family members to be together while their loved one is in treatment. In addition, families do not need to make a reservation and can stay as long as they need with no set check-out date.
Construction is currently underway for a new two-story, 150,000 square-foot Navy Exchange (NEX), more than three times the size of the previous store on base. An added resource for wounded warriors and their families, the new exchange will offer a food court with various dining options, a pharmacy, satellite Navy Federal Credit Union office, barber and beauty shop, and an optical department.
As wounded warriors go through many adjustments throughout their treatment and recovery, they can look to a number of services available on base. The Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) partners with many organizations, such as the USO and Department of Labor, offering transition assistance, help with financial planning and locating jobs.
In addition, FFSC also partners with NNMC's Wounded Warrior Program, which helps coordinate both lodging and employment. Additionally, the Human Resources Office-Washington (HRO-W) Wounded Warrior Employment Program provides outreach and assistance to wounded warriors, helping every step of the way, from resume writing to networking.
Also working with numerous organizations, the Marine Corps Liaison Office (MCLO) coordinates events and activities for wounded warriors. Another point of contact lending a hand to wounded warriors is the Inpatient Warrior and Family Liaison Office (IWFLO), ensuring their needs are met, working with a number of groups, such as the Aleethia Foundation, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Oakleaf Club of Greater Washington and the Armed Forces Foundation.
Throughout their treatment, wounded warriors also have support from the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society's (NMCRS) Combat Casualty Assistance (CCA) program, which offers long-term care, at no cost, and sends visiting nurses to the patient at the hospital and at home. Though they don't provide specialized care, these nurses offer emotional support and advocate for the patient throughout their recovery.
Additionally, Safe Harbor coordinates non-medical support and assists with pay and personnel issues, housing, education, child care, transition assistance and transportation needs. Working with this organization, the Semper-Fi Fund offers immediate financial assistance for injured and critically ill service members and their families. The Warrior Family Coordination Cell (WFCC) is fostering relationships with charities and service organizations, allowing a smooth transition during integration. To help provide guidance to these benevolent groups during integration, the WFCC held a meeting in May and is scheduled to host another one in August as an opportunity to address military medical leaders to the region and voice their integration concerns.
Additionally, the WFCC is building a Web site to help charitable organizations stay informed and connected with one another. Through the site, groups can share ideas and specify what goods and services they have available for wounded warriors and their loved ones.
During integration with WRAMC, NSAB is making sure wounded warriors' needs are met while allowing a seamless transition.
"NSA Bethesda is honored to provide support services to the Army's Warrior Transition Unit (WTB). Just as we have already done for the Marine's Wounded Warrior Regiment, we are working with the WTB to ensure there is seamless non-medical support to the soldiers and their families," said Capt. Michael Malanoski, commanding officer, NSAB.