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VA Caregiver Support

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Wanda's Story

WandaWhen anticipating retirement and growing old together, Wanda had never pictured her active and able husband being physically bound to his bed. Bob, a Veteran of the U.S. Army, who served during World War II, wanted nothing more than to stay in his home, despite his life-altering condition. Wanda, his wife of over 65 years, wanted to be able to keep him at home too, but it seemed impossible. Though the couple has four supportive children, they all live out of state. Friends of the couple are aged and not able to offer much in the way of assistance.

When community services could no longer meet Bob's needs at home, the couple sought assistance through the VA Medical Center at Topeka, Kansas. More than two years later, Bob remains in his own home and continues to thrive with his wife at his side. The Veteran receives invaluable daily care from his wife and formal VA support services.

The Veteran is enrolled in the Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) program. He receives in-home visits and monitoring from an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and a nurse/case manager. Wanda receives regular supportive visits from the HBPC social worker. The couple has also received assistance from the team psychologist and has regular contact with the dietician.

In addition to the medical and emotional support provided within the home, Bob also participates in the Care Coordination Home Telehealth program. Wanda is able to take his blood sugar, blood pressure, and other vital statistics and send them through the monitoring equipment to be reviewed daily at the VA by a Caregiver Support Coordinator.

Though Wanda is very dedicated to her husband's care, handling physical tasks can be daunting for one individual. Wanda has assistance three times a week with providing personal care (bathing/grooming) from trained staff through VA Community Health Care Services.

During a social work home visit, Wanda mentioned that she had not been to the doctor due to her inability to leave the Veteran at home alone. Respite services are now in place, which allows Wanda to have agency staff come to assist Bob in the home while she takes personal time, runs errands, and attends appointments.

Overall, providing care for an ill, injured, or aging Veteran takes a lot of time, energy, and support.

"I'm not doing it alone," Wanda said.

Through services offered by the VA, Bob has been able to stay in his own home with assistance and support.

"My wife is an angel. I'm a very fortunate man," Bob told his HBPC staff. VA recognizes the hard work, love, and dedication that Family Caregivers, like Wanda, provide and remains committed to "Caring for Those Who Care."

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