NCH’s Brookdale Center Kicks-Off Brain Injury Peer Visitor Program (Naples, FL) August 18, 2013 - The Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging & Rehabilitation at the NCH Healthcare System is the first in the state of Florida to form a new relationship with the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association®, based in Alpharetta, Georgia. Through this alliance, new resources will be made available to patients and their families to foster recovery, as well as opportunities to connect with people who have had similar events in their lives. The Brain Injury Peer Visitor program is comprised of 125 volunteers working in association with over 30 rehabilitation facilities, and collectively provided over 4,300 visits to people in need last year. Each of the volunteers has experienced the affects of brain injury, either directly or within their family. The meaningful work that is done through these types of associations has attracted national acclaim. The organization is a Quality of Life Grant recipient through the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, as well as having been recognized by leaders in the field of rehabilitative medicine. Ann Boriskie, founder and director, is a brain injury survivor herself and has channeled her passion into paving the way for others so they do not feel alone. Ann will be here in Naples during the last week in August thanks to a generous grant afforded the program by the NCH North Naples Auxiliary. She will provide training to the Naples based peer visitors and get the program off the ground in collaboration with Brookdale and NCH Volunteer Services staff. “The peer visitors will serve as role models to those just starting in the rehabilitation phase of their recovery. These folks often face the prospect of a life-changing road ahead and may benefit from talking with someone who’s already faced many challenges and has successfully regained the focus of their life in a meaningful way,” says Heather Baker, administrative director at The Brookdale Center. This program will be offered to patients and families served at The Brookdale Center starting in August. In addition to the peer visit, patients will receive packets with educational materials and information on an array of resources available to foster ongoing health and independence. Another great resource to patients, families & professionals working in the field, is the website, www.braininjurypeervisitor.org, which serves as a depository of articles, organizations serving these special needs, as well as a host of additional resources. The Brookdale Center is a 54-bed rehabilitation hospital serving Collier County and the surrounding area. The program specializes in recovery from brain injury, stroke, trauma, orthopedic and neurological conditions. More information is available through their website, www.nchmd.org/brookdale, or by calling (239)552-7222.