Caregiver Services You may know that VA provides benefits and services for Veterans, but did you know that VA also has a number of services designed specifically to support you in your role as a Family Caregiver?
VA values your commitment as a partner in our pledge to care for those who have "borne the battle," and we have several support and service options designed with you in mind. The programs are available both in and out of your home to help you care for the Veteran you love and for yourself. Caregiver SupportAsking for help isn't always easy – especially if you're not exactly sure what kind of support would be the best fit for your needs. Learn more about how VA's trained professionals can help you find the services and support that are right for you and the Veteran you care for. Caregiver Support LineWith VA's Caregiver Support Line – 1-855-260-3274 – assistance is just a quick phone call away. Whether you're in need of immediate assistance or have questions about what services you may be eligible for, the caring licensed professionals who answer the support line can: Tell you about the assistance available from VA. Help you access services. Connect you with the Caregiver Support Coordinator at a VA Medical Center near you. Just listen, if that's what you need right now. If you're just getting started with VA, calling the Caregiver Support Line is a great first step to take to learn more about the support that's available to you.
VA's Caregiver Support Line1-855-260-3274 toll-free Caregiver Support CoordinatorYour local
Caregiver Support Coordinator is a licensed professional who can support you by matching you with services for which you are eligible, and providing you with valuable information about resources that can help you stay smart, strong and organized as you care for the Veteran you love. Find your local Caregiver Support Coordinator by visiting our Help Near Home page and entering your zip code. Peer Support for CaregiversVA has developed a Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring Program to connect Caregivers to one another, to provide support, and to learn from each other. Peer Support Mentoring provides an opportunity for Caregivers to share their experience, wisdom, skills and passion with each other and benefit from the guidance of others. Caregivers of Veterans of all eras are eligible to participate in the VA Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring Program, both as Mentors and as Mentees. Mentors and Mentees communicate using email, telephone, and letter writing depending on what works best for both of them. Mentors receive training before being paired with another Caregiver and are volunteers with their local VA medical center Voluntary Services Department.
Caregivers participating in the Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring Program agree to participate for 6 months, but many participate for much longer. Not sure if you are ready for this, but would like to try it out? VA also offers a one-time connection through the Compassionate Connections Program for those Caregivers who many need some brief support from an experienced Mentor but are not ready or able to commit to a longer-term mentoring relationship. To learn more, please contact your local Caregiver Support Coordinator who can be located by using the zip code look-up. Caregiver ServicesBelow are descriptions of various services available to Family Caregivers of Veterans. If you'd like additional information or are interested in signing up for any of the services listed below, contact VA's Caregiver Support Line or your local Caregiver Support Coordinator for assistance (see above). Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) CentersADHC Centers are a safe and active environment with constant supervision designed for Veterans to get out of the home and participate in activities. It is a time for the Veteran you care for to socialize with other Veterans while you, the Family Caregiver, get some time for yourself. ADHC Centers employ caring professionals who will assess a Veteran's rehabilitation needs and help a Veteran accomplish various tasks so he or she can maintain or regain personal independence and dignity. The Veteran you care for will participate in rehabilitation based on his or her specific health assessment during the day (ADHC centers are generally open Monday through Friday during normal business hours). The ADHC Centers emphasize a partnership with you, the Veteran you care for and Centers' staffs.
Home-Based Primary CareHome-Based Primary Care (HBPC) is a program designed to deliver routine health care services to your home when the Veteran you care for has medical issues that make it challenging for him or her to travel. Home-Based Primary Care is staffed with medical professionals who will come to your home. Some of their services are primary care and nursing, managing medication, and helping plan and put together nutritious and tasty meals. Home-Based Primary Care can also include physical rehabilitation, mental health care for your Veteran, social work and referrals to VA and community services. This program can help ease the worry and stress of having to bring a Veteran to and from a VA medical center for routine medical appointments. Skilled Home CareThe Skilled Home Care service provides a medical professional who comes to your home to help care for a homebound Veteran. Some of the care a Veteran can receive includes basic nursing services and physical, occupational, or speech therapies. To be eligible for this service, a Veteran must be homebound, which means he or she has difficulty traveling to and from appointments and so is in need of receiving medical services at home.
The Skilled Home Care service is similar to Home-Based Primary Care, but it involves VA purchasing care for a Veteran from a licensed non-VA medical professional. Homemaker and Home Health Aide ProgramFeeding and bathing another person can be very stressful, physically tasking, and time-consuming for you. Often times, taking care of a Veteran's needs leaves no time for you to take care of your own needs.
The Homemaker and Home Health Aide Program is designed to help a Veteran with personal care needs. Your local VA medical center can help arrange for a home health aide who will come to your home on a regular schedule to allow you time to take care of your own needs. Caring for yourself helps you stay strong for yourself and the Veteran you care for. Home TelehealthWe know how difficult or challenging it can be to get the Veteran you care for to a VA medical center for assistance.
The Home Telehealth program is designed to give you ready access to a care coordinator by using technology (e.g., telephone, computers) in your home. The Home Telehealth program enhances and extends care management to you, the Family Caregiver. The program is typically offered to individuals who live at a distance from a VA Medical Center. Home Telehealth services can also include education and training or online and telephone support groups. Please contact your Caregiver Support Coordinator to discuss which telehealth programs are available at your VA.
Respite CareAs a Family Caregiver, it can be hard to find time for a much-needed break from your daily routine and care responsibilities so that you have some time for yourself. Respite is time for relaxing and renewing your own energy, and respite care can provide you with the time to do that. If a Veteran requires a Caregiver, you are eligible to receive up to 30 days of respite care per year. The care can be offered in a variety of settings including at your home or through temporary placement of a Veteran at a VA Community Living Center, a VA-contracted Community Residential Care Facility, or an Adult Day Health Care Center. Respite care may also be provided in response to a Family Caregiver's unexpected hospitalization, a need to go out of town, or a family emergency. Staying strong for your Veteran means staying strong yourself. By taking an opportunity to be refreshed through respite care, you may be amazed at how your fresh outlook will help you and your Veteran.
Home Hospice CareDuring the advanced stages of a terminal disease,
Home Hospice Care can offer comfort and supportive services for you and the Veteran you care for in your own home. The professionals who provide Home Hospice Care understand the challenges you face and are there to help you and the Veteran you care for ease into the final stages of life. An interdisciplinary team of health care providers and volunteers from a local community hospice agency provide the services during this sad and challenging time. The team is there for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Bereavement care (grief counseling) is also available for you and other immediate family members. - See more at: http://www.caregiver.va.gov/support/support_services.asp#sthash.tGvPuGZo.dpuf<< New text box >>
About Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living fills a gap between home care and nursing homes. Years ago, before assisted living, a person needing professional care went to a nursing home even though the care didn't always merit the intensive supervision and control of a nursing home. The fairly new alternative of assisted living provides a more homelike environment for people needing or anticipating help with activities of daily living or incidental activities of daily living but for which 24-hour nursing care is not a necessity.
Instead of the hospital environment of a nursing home, newer assisted living facilities look more like apartment buildings with private rooms or suites and locked doors. Instead of a nurses desk, there is a help desk. And instead of a hospital-like lounge area and sterile cafeteria, assisted living has gathering areas with couches, fireplaces, gardens, atriums, etc. Central dining areas look more like banquet rooms and often offer entertainment during or after mealtimes. Meaningful activities and chats with neighbors in pleasant surroundings, keep residents active and stimulated. Frequent outings are also planned. And transportation is available to residents who can't drive.
Many assisted living facilities allow home health agencies to come in and offer services for residents. Some states may allow facilities to have a resident nurse or therapist to help with minor medical problems. And some states even allow variances for assisted living to offer limited nursing home services.
Some assisted living facilities specialize in the care of Alzheimer's patients. An Alzheimer's patient typically does not require a lot of medical attention but often requires supervision and confinement. Alzheimer's facilities have locked entrance doors to prevent residents from wandering.
About Retirement and Care Communities
Active elderly adults, age 55 and older, who are retiring often desire to sell their homes and move to a different location. The move may be prompted by the desire to experience
new adventures in a resort area, along a lake or ocean shoreline or in the desert southwest. A move may also be prompted by the desire to leave behind home maintenance and yard work and buy into
community where those worries are taken care of by others. Many elders contemplating a move may not currently need long term care but want the availability of care services should the need arise in the future. Some retirement communities cater to these desires as well.
Finally many older people have difficulty remaining in their present home environment and need to find a living arrangement where they can receive help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, mobility issues, incontinence problems or diminishing memory. These people have a choice of a variety of new living arrangements such as independent living, assisted living, combined care communities or continuing care communities.
About Nursing Homes
Nursing homes act as a cost-effective way to enable patients with injuries, acute illnesses or postoperative care needs to recover in an environment outside a hospital. Nursing homes also serve a second purpose in caring for residents who have chronic illnesses and long-term care needs. These people will probably never return home and may die in the nursing home, in a hospital or in hospice.
For many chronic care recipients, long term care is an evolving process of losing more and more physical or mental capacity. A nursing home is usually the last stop in this process. The nursing
home is equipped to handle medical problems, disability and in some cases behavior problems that cannot be handled by any other provider. Because there are now so many other options for care
prior to a nursing home, the trend is that residents on average are much sicker and older than in the past.
About 91% of all nursing home residents are age 65 and older, and 98% of these people use Medicare as their primary insurance. So any change in the way Medicare handles long-term care costs will
affect the utilization of nursing homes. The Balanced Budget Act of 1996 and Medicare's subsequent implementation of The Prospective Payment System, has shortened hospital stays and as a result, more
and more elderly patients are spending time in a nursing facility before
they are well enough to go home.
Many elderly care recipients, for whom Medicare is not an option, are in a nursing home because they don't have money to pay for other types of care. These people are receiving care, paid in-part or fully by Medicaid, or they are spending their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.