VA Caregiver Support Program
For Veterans facing a life-threatening illness, palliative care can provide relief from pain and suffering – and can offer additional benefits for family members who may be acting as a Veteran’s informal caregiver.
Palliative care can improve an individual’s quality of life by:
- Addressing physical symptoms to make the Veteran more comfortable;
- Integrating the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
- Offering a support system to help patients live as actively as possible;
- Helping family members cope during the patient’s illness and, if necessary, with bereavement;
- Affirming life and viewing dying as a normal process;
- Using a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling.
- Conversation Guide for Patients and Caregivers for Identifying Their Health Priorities (PDF)
VA’s Office of Palliative Care supports Veterans early in the course of their illness, combining an array of services with treatment aimed at curing or controlling disease and improving quality of life. In VA, palliative care is provided by an interdisciplinary team that includes a medical provider, social worker, nurse, chaplain, mental health provider, and others. The entire care team’s focus is on identifying, respecting, and providing the necessary help for a Veteran to achieve his or her goals for care. Palliative care services may address physical symptoms, family coping, emotional or spiritual distress, or access to needed resources.
Learn more at Geriatrics and Extended Care/Palliative Care - https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Palliative_Care.asp
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 https://www. nhpco.org/patients-and-caregivers/* for more information.