VA Finally Rolls Out its Family Caregiver Program
After missing the 30 January deadline for full implementation, the VA is posting the “interim” final rule to enable them to get rolling on “Family Caregiver Program” of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act 2010, which includes enhanced services to a family caregiver of a veteran who sustained a serious injury in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001. The Act does not help veterans of other periods.
Aspects of the program, which came on line on 9 May 2011, are:
- In-home and community-based care is to be provided. This includes skilled home health care, homemaker home health aide services, community adult day health care and Home Based Primary Care.
- Respite care services are to be provided. These are designed to relieve the family caregiver, which can include can include in-home care, a short stay in one of VA’s community living centers (the new VA name for nursing homes on VA Medical Center grounds) or adult day health care.
- Caregiver education and training programs are to be provided. The training includes pre-discharge care instruction and specialized caregiver training for severe traumas such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury or disorders, and blindness.
- A special caregiver website has been created at www.caregiver.va.gov . It provides information, to include on VA and community resources.
- Trained, Caregiver Support Coordinators are located at every VA Medical Center. You can use the general VHA number 1-877-222-8273 or the website to locate one or the support line (next).
- A National Caregiver Support Line has been created at 1-855-260-3274. Its purposes are counseling and information about resources and services.
- Caregiver support groups are to be offered – either in a face-to-face setting or on the telephone (one day, web chatlines?)
- Other caregiver support services are available. Examples are family counseling, spiritual and pastoral care, family leisure and recreational activities and temporary lodging in Fisher Houses.
- Other existing services will continue – like durable medical equipment and prosthetic and sensory aides to improve function, financial assistance with home modification to improve access and mobility, and transportation assistance for some veterans to and from medical appointments.
- And finally and at last, the “Primary Family Caregiver” will receive a monthly stipend in addition to other reimbursements. The stipend will be received for each prior month’s participation and the amount will be determined by “the veteran’s level of dependency based upon the degree to which the eligible veteran is unable to perform one or more activities of daily living (ADLs) or the degree to which the eligible veteran is in need of supervision or protection based on symptoms or residuals of neurological or other impairment or injury …”
The regulation and application is available on the above website and. The veteran must first be enrolled in the VA healthcare system and a separate application for this program is required. Assistance in filling out the form will be provided.
- <http://www.caregiver.va.gov/> . Accessed 9 May 2011.
- <http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/?p=2790> Accessed 9 May 2011.
As of 9 May 2011