The Geriatrics and Extended Care Program recently developed a new online Guide to the various services available for Veterans in need of long term care. The site provides a host of information on programs such as home based, community based, and residential care options for the Veteran, and also provides information for those responsible for their care. Each and every program provides services tailored to the specific needs of Veterans. The new Guide also offers tools for you to plan ahead and involve your family member or support person, social worker and care team in making plans and decisions that are best for you.
The new site offers a Guide to Long Term Care which provides information on many programs such as Adult Day Health Care. This program provides Veterans a place to go during the day for social activities, recreation, peer support, and companionship. It gives them the opportunity to experience things they may not be able to within the confines of their own home. Also, while the Veteran is having fun during the day, the caregiver can then carry out daily activities without having to worry about leaving the Veteran alone.
Respite Care, another available service, provides the opportunity for the caregiver to get a break. Either someone is paid to come into the home and take on the duties usually carried out by the caregiver, or the Veteran is brought to an onsite Long Term Care program where they are fully cared for. While the Veteran is being taken care of, the caregiver can go out of town, take a break, or take care of any other priorities within their own life. The VA understands being a caregiver can be extremely stressful, and Respite Care provides them with time to relax and take time for themselves.
You can also learn more about Assisted Living for Veterans. This program offers rented rooms and apartments where the Veteran can live full-time. Within these facilities are shared living spaces and dining rooms, and within their rooms they have the option of having their own kitchen or kitchenette. There are trained caregivers on duty for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for assistance with any of the Veteran’s daily needs. Health personnel may also visit for any extra care needed by the Veteran. Assisted Living not only benefits the Veteran but also provides assistance to the caregiver where home and community based programs cannot.
Along with these programs are Home Based Primary Care, Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care, Hospice and Palliative Care, Adult Family Homes, State Veterans Homes, and many more. For Veterans enrolled in VHA care, your eligibility for all of these programs is based on clinical need and service or setting availability.
Shared Decision Making is also introduced on the site as a critical element in the care of Veterans. It provides an opportunity for the Veteran, caregiver, social worker, and care team to come to an agreement on the best option for the Veteran’s current and future situations. Both the caregiver and Veteran can fill out a worksheet assessing what each of their needs are and what steps need to be taken to fulfill them. With this tool, all parties are able to determine the best options to meet the needs of everyone involved. You can get these tools from the online Guide or by asking your social worker or care team for a copy.
We encourage everyone to check out the new Guide to Long Term Care website and see the wealth of information now available to providers, caregivers, and patients. The Guide brings information on services together in one convenient location providing Veterans and Caregivers the opportunity to find programs that will specifically cater to their needs.