FamilyOfaVet - Real world info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat
FamilyOfaVet - Real World info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat.

Getting a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)

If you (or your Veteran) have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury a
PDA can be a HUGE help.  It can help keep up with appointments, reminders, contacts,
directions, and more.  Many can also store music, which is helpful when you need to the
ears) and want to block out the ringing to get some sleep.

Here's the process we went through to get one.  I have, however, been told by my hubby's
OIF Case Manager that PDA's are easier to get at other VAMC's (Veterans Administration
Medical Centers).

(1) We asked our case manager about getting a PDA.  He's been around my hubby a lot, is
familiar with his needs and challenges.  If yours isn't as familiar with you (or your Veteran)
you may need to explain why it would be helpful (i.e., I often forget appointments, would be
able to track when I need to take medications, etc.).  For info about getting assigned a
case manager,
CLICK HERE.  If you don't have a case manager (I highly recommend
getting!), just skip this step.

(2)  If you don't have a case manager, set an appointment with your Psychiatrist or Primary
Care Physician (PCP).  Without the consult from your case manager, you'll have to explain
to them why you need one.  For my husband, since the consult was in the system, it was
literally a 5 minute appointment in which his Psychiatrist said, "Wow! Great idea.  We
should have already thought of that."  So then, she (the psychiatrist) put in an order to
Prosthetics to order the PDA.

(3) Prosthetics ordered the PDA and it came about 4 weeks later in the mail.  I have,
however, heard of people getting an actual consult (sit down meeting) with prosthetics at
other VAMC's to choose their PDA and get trained on how to use it.  Fortunately, I'm kind
of a computer nerd, so I just set it up myself for my husband when it arrived.  If you need
help, though, don't hesitate to ask someone in the Prosthetics Department!!


As I type this in February 2011, my hubby now has an iPod Touch, which was issued by the
VA.  From what I understand, this is now the standard "PDA" being issued by the VA.  This
time his PDA was issued by his speech therapist.  A think a lot of people think that a
"speech" therapist only sees people for problems related to speaking... not true.  My
husband is being seen for cognitive rehab related to
TBI (traumatic brain injury).  Anyway,
his former PDA was 2-1/2 years old and was in sorry shape, so he was issued a new one!  
The best way to go about this is still just to ask!  Explain why you need it (the most common
reason is issues related to memory) and how it will help (managing appointment, reminding
about meds, etc.) and then ask for a "prosthetics consult" for one.  Most of the time, you'll
then just magically get one in the mail or be handed one at your next appointment.
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