VA St. Louis Health Care System
VA Supporting the Caregivers who Support America’s Heroes
The mission of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is to provide care and services to Veterans worthy of the service they provided this Nation.
Just as Veterans were selfless in their service to the United States, some of them have loved ones who have made their own selfless sacrifices to become the primary caregivers of the Veterans they love. Caregivers often leave employment to take on the taxing burdens of providing full-time care for the Veterans they love so they can keep their Veteran at home with familiar faces.
The VA can provide supportive services to these caregivers who share our mission to care for those “who have borne the battle.”
As the Veteran population continues to age, the support of caregivers becomes more important in order to meet the physical and psychological care needs of Veterans. In some cases, caregivers know in advance that their loved ones will need to rely on them, which gives them time to learn how to care for their Veteran.
In other cases, these individuals have little to no prior knowledge of how drastically their lives will change, especially in the case of providing care for veterans severely injured during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In recognition of the vital role caregivers play in providing the best health care to our American veterans, the VHA caregiver support program within Care Management and Social Work Service, Office of Patient Care Services, has been developing a National Caregiver Support Program to be a comprehensive system of care to support caregivers.
The St. Louis VA Medical Center also recognizes the physical and emotional burdens associated with providing daily care to Veterans and it has made a conscious effort to support them across the continuum of care. The St. Louis VA provides various support services such as Respite Care, Homemaker, and Home Health Services. Weekly support groups are held for caregivers every Wednesday. Social workers also assist in making referrals.
In addition to these resources, the National Caregiver Hotline opened in February 2011 (1-855-260-3275) to provide information in key areas to support caregivers such as respite care, education and training, VA supportive services, community resources, caregiver wellness, emotional and spiritual health, emergency preparedness, and home safety.
VA has always tried to provide resources to caregivers – recognizing the sacrifices these individuals make to provide the full-time care for their loved ones. Our veterans deserve the highest quality health care services, and, in honor of the caregivers who allow these Veterans to stay in the homes they defended, surrounded by the loved ones they fought for, VA is working to provide the same level of care and support to these selfless heroes.
For more information on services available to caregivers, contact Kay McBrady, MSW, St. Louis VA Caregiver Support Coordinator at (314) 652-4100, Extension 55403.
National Caregiver Hotline 1-855-260-3275 is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 11:00 pm (EST) and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (EST)
Or visit the National Caregiver website at www.caregiver.va.gov