A feature story in the Virginian-Pilot this week explores a subject that many don’t even know about, but that 250,000 Virginians struggle with each day: living in the wake of a traumatic brain injury.

Unfortunately, most serious head injuries come with life-long consequences and disabilities, many of which involve personality changes and behavioral problems, and many of which are not covered by insurance companies who don’t seem to understand. Those who do not have the advantage of a personal injury settlement or workers’ compensation often find themselves unable to pay for a lifetime of care. Others find it impossible to place young family members in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, especially when their loved ones suffer from inappropriate behavior or violent outbursts.

In Virginia, many programs that help the disabled, the elderly, and the mentally ill do not offer money or services to those living with serious brain injuries that can keep them from working or even caring for themselves. Finding a living center in Virginia that can handle these patients and that takes your insurance or Medicaid can be almost impossible. According to the article, some of the victims finally find a home that will care for them: the jails and prisons they land in after their brain injury leads to violence or crime.

The small centers that specialize in brain injury patients, such as the Neurological Rehabilitation Living Center in Virginia Beach, can cost families $700 to $1,850 per day for care – and the director of the center says that he must turn away about 90 percent of those who apply for care.