Servicemember Transitional Advanced Rehabilitation (STAR) Program
STAR is a residential rehabilitation program designed specifically for the evaluation and treatment of Special Operation Forces impacted by mild TBI and other polytraumatic injuries.
Servicemember Transitional Advanced Rehabilitation (STAR) is a unique and comprehensive rehabilitation program offered in a therapeutic residential setting, designed specifically for Service Members and Veterans to facilitate recovery, maximize function and promote successful community reintegration, return to duty, or transition to employment.
To be the frontline healthcare provider who empowers our nation’s heroes to be better by enhancing physical, cognitive, spiritual, and social performance.
STAR program services are comprehensive and facilitated by a core interdisciplinary medical and rehabilitation team and an array of clinically indicated consultative services.
Every patient is unique and the length of stay is determined by each patient’s rehabilitation goal. All patients receive an initial two-week evaluation after which the length of stay is determined and treatment is initiated. An estimated length of stay can be anywhere from 45-90 days, with 60 days as the average.
Location and Environment
The STAR program is housed in the Polytrauma Transitional Center (F-5 on the interactive map found at the link below) on the campus of the Central Virginia VA Health Care System in Richmond, Virginia, allowing patients opportunity for rehabilitation and recovery away from their up-tempo environments. While participating in the program, patients enjoy a residential setting where every patient is assigned a private room with a private accessible bathroom, a double-sized bed, a desk with a standing desk option, an armoire, and a closet. Shared common areas provide large-screen televisions and opportunities for camaraderie with other SOF patients in the program.
The STAR Program offers a therapeutic environment with structured daily schedules and flexible priorities according to individual patient goals. Each patient is involved in treatment planning, which may involve family member participation at the Service Member’s request. Both individual and group treatment sessions are offered.
STAR patients participate in therapeutic outings that are incorporated into the treatment plan. In addition, patients are free to pursue leisure interests on evenings and weekends (as COVID protocols allow).
The STAR Program offers a full spectrum of rehabilitation services and follows an interdisciplinary team model which enhances the efficiency and standardization of treatments. Medical staff are accessible and located within the building.
The core STAR team and services include:
• Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
• Nurse Case Management
• Nursing Care Services
• Social Work Services
• Neuropsychology & Mental Health Services
• Physical Therapy
• Occupational Therapy
• Speech-Language Pathology
• Recreational Therapy
• Vocational Rehabilitation
• Vision/TBI Optometry
Specialty/Consultative Services May Include:
• Pain Management
• Headache Treatment
• Headache Management including Botox
• Integrative and Whole Health Services
• Pain Clinic including Biofeedback
• Acupuncture and Dry Needling
• Assistive Technology
• Adaptive Sports
• Audiology Services
• Prosthetic & Orthotic Services
Service Members and Veterans who benefit the most from the STAR program are:
• medically stable,
• have the potential to successfully participate in groups and individual therapy sessions,
• are willing to follow the program’s and the facility’s rules,
• and have goals that can be addressed by the program.
Service Members and Veterans participating in the STAR program should not have:
• active substance abuse concerns,
• exhibit behaviors posing a risk or safety threat to themselves or others,
• or exhibit behaviors that require intensive mental health services.
What to Bring
• Any assistive technology or medical devices you may use.
• Prosthetic, orthotic, or assistive devices (i.e. wheelchair, necessary charging equipment, CPAP, etc.)
• A list of any contacts (family/support persons, providers) that the STAR Program staff may need to contact on your behalf.
• Military ID and a copy of a valid driver’s license. Your driver’s license is required if you plan to drive while in the program. A valid ID may also be needed for community outings.
Documents Needed for Vocational Rehabilitation:
• Separation Papers (DD 214)
• Performance Evaluations
• Military Training Record
• Training certifications
• Previous resumes or employment forms
• Awards & Citations
• Letters of commendation and letters of appreciation
• College and Military transcripts
• Workout clothes and footwear
• Swim trunks
• Several changes of clothing (jeans, polo shirts, t-shirts)
• Business attire for vocational settings
• Casual attire for community outings that are appropriate for different types of seasonal and weather conditions
Personal Care Products:
• Any personal care items you use.
• Laundry pods, bed linens, and towels are provided.
• Personal electronic devices, including cell phone, tablet/laptop, and charging equipment.
What NOT to bring:
• Firearms, knives, and/or other supplies/weaponry
• Alcohol and illegal substances
• Chemical liquids (nail polish/nail polish remover)
• Glass items, including glass picture frames
• Non-prescribed medications (including creams, mood-altering substances, and over the counter medications)
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I get my medications?
All medications are kept at the nurses’ station in a secured cabinet. Your medications will be in an individual drawer within the cabinet that you will have a key to access. The self-medication policy will be reviewed with you upon admission to the STAR Program.
Will my family be able to accompany me during therapy appointments?
No. While family members may be approved or invited by a therapist to participate in therapy treatment, generally, family members of STAR patients do not accompany the patient to therapy appointments while in the STAR program.
Is lodging available for my family if they visit me while I am in the STAR program?
Yes. Family members/caregivers will be able to stay in the Fisher House (located directly across from the STAR program facility) or either the Hospitality House (located 4 miles from the STAR program facility), free of charge for a short period of time. The STAR program Social Worker will work with Service Members, Veterans, and their families prior to their arrival in the program so that appropriate accommodations can be made.
Will I be able to complete my medical board (MEB) while I am in the program?
Yes. You will be able to complete the medical board process while you are participating in the STAR program. The Richmond VA Medical Center and the professional staff in the STAR program are qualified to assist in the completion of your medical program. Appointments and evaluations can take place at the Richmond VA which participates in the combined military and Veterans Affairs evaluation process.
What do I need to wear?
A uniform is not required to be worn during the regular therapy day (0730-1630). Comfortable clothing may be worn to therapy. It is suggested you bring both business and business casual attire for community and vocational outings.
Can I bring my car?
You must have a valid driver’s license and have been cleared by your physician (since the time of your injury). Once admitted to STAR you must be cleared for off-campus navigation to continue to drive your vehicle. Once on campus, any requirements for the operation of a motor vehicle on campus will be reviewed with you.
What Patients are Saying about the STAR Program
About Therapists / Staff:
“All the therapists are top-notch in their respective disciplines.”
“The staff went over and above for me to ensure that I received the care I needed.”
“The therapists are awesome in all ways.”
“They pushed when I needed it.”
“The staff were extremely caring and professional.”
“The staff were open-minded and flexible.”
“They were always available and put forth maximum effort.”
“They worked diligently and relentlessly to help me achieve my goals.”
“The STAR Program staff are some of the most resourceful people I know.”
About the Milieu:
“I enjoyed meeting and being around the other patients.”
“The relationships built with other patients is something that can’t be replicated.”
“It was helpful to be able to share experiences with other Service Members going through the same thing I am going through.”
Best Aspect of Program:
“I believe the treatment phase was the best aspect of the STAR program. This phase allowed me a time within a 20 year military career to address and begin treatment of my medical conditions.”
“I have already recommended the STAR Program to multiple people and will continue to do my best to be a poster board for the hard work that goes on here every day!”
“I learned so much through this program and cannot thank the staff enough for the help they provided me.”
“Excellent program! I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to take part in this!”
“The program exceeded my expectations.”
“I would not be where I am today without this program.”
“Overall, the program made me better and more confident.”
“A lot was fit into a short amount of time, and it was all helpful.”
“I really enjoyed being here.”
“This place is warm and has great energy.”
“I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I used to be and am more prepared than most average employees and job seekers.”
“I would have missed out had I not come here.”
William Robbins, MD
STAR Medical Director
Eleanor Woodson, BSN RN
Clinical Admissions Coordinator
Phone: 804-675-5000 x 3478
James Buchanan, LCSW
STAR Social Work Coordinator
Phone: 804-675-5000 x 7035