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VA Health Care: Actions Needed to Address Higher-Than-Expected Demand for the Family Caregiver Program
Randall B. Williamson (au)
Since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in 2001, advancements in medical care and body armor have reduced fatality rates, allowing more servicemembers to recover from catastrophic physical and psychological injuries, including multiple limb loss, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Caregivers enable those for whom they are caring to live better quality lives and can contribute to faster rehabilitation and recovery; however, time spent caregiving can lead to the loss of income, jobs, or health care and can exact a substantial physical, emotional, and financial toll. In May 2010, Congress required the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a program to support family caregivers of seriously injured post-9/11 veterans. In May 2011, the Veterans Health Admin. (VHA) implemented its Family Caregiver Program at all VA medical centers (VAMCs) across the country, offering caregivers an array of services, including a monthly stipend, training, counseling, referral services, and expanded access to mental health and respite care. In FY 2014, VHA obligated over $263 million for the program. This report examines how VHA is implementing the program, including the types of issues that have been identified during initial implementation. Figures. This is a print on demand report.
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