VA Announces Several Caregiver Partnerships

The following is a press release posted on the VA's website

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced several new and expanded partnerships to support the VA Caregiver Support Program. The VA Caregiver Support Program supports the-often unsung heroes of wounded or ill Veterans – the ones who take care of them. Announcement of the partnerships, made during a summit co-hosted by VA and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. The daylong event, Empowering Hidden Heroes: Pathways to InnoVAtion, attracted 400 leaders from government, the non-profit sector, private industry, academic and stakeholders from the Veteran and caregiver community. “VA knows that without family caregivers, many Veterans would not be able to remain in their communities,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald, a speaker during the event. “Caregivers are a force multiplier. They support Veterans in ways that VA cannot—they are essential to the health and well-being of Veterans. We can never thank them enough for what they do, and we will continue to find innovative avenues of support and foster strategic partnerships that provide them with the resources they need to keep doing what they do so well.” The following partnerships were announced:

Amazon: Together with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Amazon has curated a bookshelf of titles recommended by experts and caregivers. Titles reflect the most current and useful information to support military and Veteran caregivers and their families. Amazon also provided free Kindles to military and Veteran caregivers in attendance. Titles are available for preview here. Caregivers and consumers can download Kindle software to enjoy these books on any mobile device.

Coursera: In 2014, Coursera, an online education platform, teamed up with VA to provide one free education certification to every Veteran and transitioning service member. In 2015, that offer was extended to spouses, and this year, they are expanding the eligibility further to caregivers.

PsychArmor Institute: A longstanding collaborator with VA, PsychArmor Institute works with nationally recognized subject matter experts to create and deliver online courses tailored to issues related to military and Veteran communities. In conjunction with today’s event, PsychArmor released a suite of new free training resources for caregivers of Veterans. (www.PsychArmor.org)

VetTix: VA has partnered with Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix), a nonprofit organization that provides free tickets to events for current serving military, Veterans and Gold Star families. Vet Tix has provided more than 2.3 million tickets for current serving military, Veterans and Gold Star families to attend nearly 40,000 events valued at over $87 million since 2008. They currently serve approximately 450,000 Vet Tixers and their families. Through these events, VA and VetTix are exploring ways to encourage service members, families, and friends stay engaged with local communities and reduce stress by attending fun events that everyone can enjoy for a very low delivery fee.

National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH): VA’s Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence Assistance program has formed a partnership with The Hotline to provide cross-training resources to Veterans. The Hotline provides 24/7/365 support and referrals for people impacted by domestic violence/intimate partner violence. Through this partnership NDVH will also provide the VA with Veteran-specific usage data from the hotline that will be used to inform VA programs and policies.

VA’s Caregiver Support Program began in 2007 and expanded in 2010 to offer a variety of local and national programs including, Building Better Caregivers™; Peer Support Mentoring; Caregiver Self-Care Courses; a national Caregiver Support Line; targeted programs for dementia, stroke and spinal cord injury; Respite; and Home and Community Based Care programs. For more information about VA Caregiver support programs, visit: http://www.caregiver.va.gov.

I have watched for many years as the VA has tried to get it right and failed. Recently, I have to admit that they are trying very hard to correct their mistakes. As an example, the E-Benefits program is probably one of the biggest successes I have seen. If you are not utilizing the E-benefits program then you are missing out. Try it and if you are having problems, contact us, we will walk you through the enrollment process. E-benefits is one of the governments better initiatives.

Another initiative that I like to brag on is unfortunately "temporarily off-line". I am talking about the National Resource Directory (NRD). Any Veteran with any kind of problem can go to the NRD and find organizations in their State and City that address the problems! You read that right. I have been advocating for the NRD for a number of years. It was launched about five years ago and when it was launched was the greatest initiative I have have ever seen out of our Government. Unfortunately, they did a poor job of marketing it. In the non-profit world we are always trying to connect organizations that help Veterans and this seemed to be the answer. The NRD has moved around a bit but has not gone away, so I hope they bring it back on-line and you can help spread the word. Let's watch each others' back!