Home caregivers who assist veterans should know the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers many helpful resources. Here is a sampling of some of the services that you might want to investigate:
- The VA Caregivers Support Line. Start just by picking up the phone and calling 1-855-260-3274, the VA Caregivers Support Line. The good folks on the other end of the line can tell you about the support that they can give and can put you in touch with a Caregiver Support Coordinator that services your area. The line is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
- Caregiver Support Coordinators. These individuals are licensed professionals who help you find services that you’re eligible for and resources that enable you better attend to the veteran in your care. If you don’t want to call the support line to find a coordinator in your area, you can search for one online here.
- Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) centers. There may be an ADHC center in your area. These are centers that have been created specifically for veterans, to give them places to go to for socialization and, when needed, rehabilitation. Your loved one can enjoy the company of other veterans while under the supervision of trained staff, and you can get some time to accomplish some of the many things that home caregivers always need accomplish.
- The Home-Based Primary Care program. The VA offers several resources for veterans at home. The Home-Based Primary Care program is for veterans who have trouble traveling to get routine health services. Under this program, medical professionals visit the homes of qualifying veterans and provide some basic services.
- The Skilled Home Care program. This program is similar to the Home-Based Primary Care program, except that for this program the VA utilizes non-VA medical professionals.
- The Homemaker and Home Health Aide program. This program is set up to provide home caregivers with time to take care of their own needs. The local VA center arranges for home health aides to attend to qualifying veterans on a regular basis.
- The Respite Care program. For those who qualify, the Respite Care program provides for up to 30 days of respite care in one year. Working with local facilitators, home caregivers can arrange appropriate settings (home, an ADHC Center, a VA Community Living Center, a VA-contracted Community Residential Care Facility) for veterans to receive aid while caregivers take time to renew themselves.
There are other services that the VA offers that provide much-needed assistance. For example, the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers provides special services for veterans who sustained serious injuries in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001. Find out more about this program and other veteran-related caregiver services at www.caregiver.va.gov.