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VA Caregiver Support Program

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Resources for Caregivers

Advance Care Planning 

Advance care planning allows you and the Veteran you care for to make important health care wishes known in advance, including assigning someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if either of you are not able to. An advance directive is crucial for ensuring that the wishes and preferences of both caregivers and the individuals they care for are respected, particularly in times of medical crisis or incapacity.

Benefits of Advanced Care Planning:
– Allows you to have a voice in your medical care when you cannot speak for yourself.
– Caregivere or family members will not be burdened by being unsure of what you want medically.
– Reduces burden and eliminates uncertainty with medical decision-making,
– Limits distress and conflict of decision-making among family members and allows for opportunities for them be there for one another.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has excellent resources for Veterans, caregivers, and family members for advance care planning. Visit VA’s Making Decisions: Advance Care Planning website for more information.

Advance Care Planning via Group Visits (ACP-GV) Program: This program offers group settings for you to discuss advance care planning and learn from each other's experiences. You can attend these groups at your local VA medical facility, either alone or with someone from your support team. Veterans may also invite caregivers to attend as their support person. Contact your local ACP-GV Site Lead for current group offerings.

Advance care planning is an ongoing process. It’s important to revisit the health care wishes of both you and your loved one regularly and update the advance directives as needed.

Advance Care Planning Resources:

Every adult over the age of 18 should take some time to consider the difficult questions that occur in advance care planning. Still, it is especially critical if they have been diagnosed with a chronic disease. Advance care planning provides documented directions for healthcare providers, caregivers, and family members, that support the patient’s wishes and identifies a person who can advocate for their wishes if they are unable to for themself.

Advance care planning documents are available through VA providers or by visiting Advance Care Planning - Geriatrics and Extended Care. Non-Veterans may also want to visit CaringInfo: Resources for Serious Illness & End-of-Life Care* for more information.

By engaging in advance care planning and utilizing available resources, individuals and caregivers can ensure that healthcare preferences are clearly communicated and respected, even in challenging circumstances. Regularly revisiting and updating advance directives is essential to reflect changing preferences and circumstances over time.

Need Help?

Call VA’s Caregiver Support Line (CSL) at 1-855-260-3274 to learn more about the support that is available to you, and for assistance connecting with the Caregiver Support Team, at your local VA Medical Center.

VA CSL Expanded hours:
      -Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET
      -Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET

Your local Caregiver Support Team are licensed professionals who can support you by matching you with services for which you are eligible, and providing you with valuable information about resources that can help you stay smart, strong and organized as you care for the Veteran you love.

Subscribe to receive email updates and information about VA Caregiver Support Program services.