Rehabilitation after a serious injury can be a lengthy and confusing process that may leave Veterans and their family caregivers feeling isolated and adrift in an uncertain sea. VA’s Caregiver Program can be a life raft during the transition period. The program aims to support caregivers who in turn support Veterans in ways VA cannot.

Caregivers play an important role in the health and well-being of Veterans, and caring for a wounded, ill, or injured Veteran is not easy work. Without family caregivers, many of these Veterans could not remain close to family and in their communities.

VA knows that family caregivers who care for Veterans in their own homes have been putting Veterans first since the founding of our nation. That’s why VA’s Caregiver Support Program provides training and education to enhance the caregiver’s role. The program focus is to improve the caregiver’s understanding of the impact their work has on the health and well-being of the Veteran they care for and their families as well as how their work affects them, too.

All caregivers are essential

While recent media attention has focused on caregivers of Veterans injured after 9/11, all family caregivers, regardless of the era the Veteran served or why a Veteran requires assistance, are essential to their ability to have a positive quality of life. After applying and qualifying for the program, participants may leave for different reasons, including at request of the Veteran or caregiver. Sometimes Veterans wish to change caregivers or a caregiver is no longer able to provide the needed level of care. There could be a death of the Veteran or caregiver; the Veteran may move into a long-term residential program; or there is non-compliance with program requirements such as failure to participate in home visits, fraud or abuse.

Veterans and caregivers may also be removed from the program if the Veteran’s condition changes, making him/her no longer clinically eligible. When Veterans and their caregivers are not satisfied with decisions made by the local VA Caregiver Support Program and his/her healthcare team, we welcome a review, also called an appeal.  Requests for an appeal can be directed locally to your patient advocate at your nearest VA health care facility. To learn more about the process, review the appeals fact sheet on our website.

At the national level, we remain focused on increasing oversight through audits, site visits, process improvements and support services. Did you know we offer a variety of local and national programs? There’s Building Better Caregivers,™ peer support mentoring, caregiver self-care courses, respite, home and community based care programs, a national caregiver support line, and specific programs for issues such as dementia, stroke, and spinal cord injury. All these evidence-based programs can empower caregivers to deliver care to their Veterans with confidence while acknowledging caregivers’ own needs of self-care.

Program helps caregivers feel more proficient

Caregivers who participate in VA’s Caregiver Support Program tell us that the program has helped them feel more confident in their role, that it has made them even more proficient in supporting the Veteran they care for in treatment and rehabilitation.

To learn more about the VA Caregiver Support Program, visit the Caregiver Website  or call the Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274. You can also contact your local Caregiver Support Coordinator located at every VA medical center across the United States.

And to all the Veteran caregivers out there, we cannot thank you enough for what you do for Veterans, and for our nation. We stand with you, ready to support, ready to care compassionately for one Veteran at a time.

By Meg Kabat, LCSW-C, CCM National Director | Caregiver Support Program

Meg Kabat, LCSW-C, CCM is the national director of VA’s Caregiver Support Program.

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Published on Apr. 12, 2017

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  1. Don T. Groves April 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    How is it that a man who beat a 70 year old Veteran to Death is Still working for the V.A. I’m VERY ANGRY !!!

    • Don T. Groves April 15, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Kathy, You should contact Social Security in regards to being a Full Time Care giver.

  2. Kathey suarez April 14, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I am the wife of a veteran who is taking care.of my husband who has vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s, plus PTSD, coronary artery disease. I have yet to find a program for my situation and compensation for helping my veteran make it through everyday challenges, I am alone in my quest to keep him out of homes, and feel like I am raising a child. Any suggestions where to begin.
    Thank you
    God Bless

    • Karen Needles April 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Kathey, I, too, am a veteran taking care of my husband, who is a veteran, who had several strokes in 2011, and then got pneumonia in 2015. He was diagnosed with dementia, vascular difficulties, and I have been taking care of a bedsore that he got in VA while he was in ICU. I, too, am alone taking care of him. I can’t work full time because of the various doctor appointments and other responsibilities. As a physical therapy technician in the Air Force, then as a Learning Disabilities teacher, my training has helped to care for my husband. But there is very little time for myself, and taking on the complete role of caring for him, taking care of the house, both inside and out, with no compensation, makes for a very stressful life, trying to pay bills, provide nourishing meals. And yes, we are taking care of children. Throwing tantrums, refusing to help out with simple tasks, expecting us to do everything.
      Get him into adult daycare two days a week, just to get him out of the house, and give you some breathing space. VA has home care programs, but those are just 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, and I found the contracted companies worthless, because the staff is not trained to assist with needs that my husband, and your husband have.
      Most of all, you have got to take care of yourself. You have got to have time for you. Find someone you can talk to. Who is a great listener so that you can just pour out your heart, cry and be held and comforted, take a deep breath and continue on. We do need to be compensated for our time and efforts. Just because we are wives, does not mean that we should be taken advantage of.

  3. David Westerling April 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Almost 99.9% of the Varegiver Support info is a female taking care of a male veteran. What about caregivers who are male taking care of female veterans? Better yet, how about both who are veterans who take care of each other like my wife and I who both have PTSD and while I can’t prove it I suspect she gave me whatever Gulf War illness she also has but since I wasn’t there I can’t prove a thing. I have much anxiety, stress and anger over this issue and maybe there are others out there as well.

    • Jason Gayer / Army Veteran April 20, 2017 at 6:33 am

      the VA has done wonders for me. you need to listen and read and apply. benefits are out here waiting for vet’s. so many agency’s have thousands of dollars to provide services to all accredited veterans but if nobody applys then the money doesn’t double the benefits for next year. it actually makes programs​ get less funds because it looks in the statistics that veterans aren’t in need of many benefits. don’t be ashamed if you only did 2 years or 30 year’s. we’ve earned our freedom and benefits by taking the risk of our lives to defend the United States of America

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