Veterans Administrations REACH Program/greater east

The VA is rolling out REACH on a national basis through home-based primary care. In addition, the program will be modified to assist caregivers of veterans diagnosed with disabilities besides Alzheimers, such as, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

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This past February, the VA opened a toll-free National Caregiver Support Line, 855-260-3274, which serves as a primary resource/referral center to assist veterans or others seeking this information. Calls will be taken Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time. I also encourage you to visit the VAs caregiver website at

I believe that since there is no cure for Alzheimers, educating ourselves is our best defense.

Veterans Administrations REACH Program/greater east,Finally there is a department of our government that has acknowledged that it makes perfectly good sense, morally and fiscally, to invest in the caregivers of our beloved veterans. These American heros are best served when equipped to live their lives as independently as possible, for as long as possible, surrounded by their devoted mily members and friends. A key means to this end is through the education and support of their dedicated caregivers.

Dr. Linda Nichols is with the VA Medical Center in Memphis, Tn. She is also coauthor of a study on the REACH program. She said, The intervention provided time for themselves, which caregivers never have enough of. It also improved our caregivers knowledge to manage care, made them feel more confident and competent as they formed bonds with the VA staff supporting them, and decreased the inevitable feelings of isolation and loneliness that comes from a selfless but very sacrificial duty of care.

I would also like to give a shout out for another great program. Members of the military and their milies often travel astronomical distances to receive specialized medical care. The Fisher House Foundation donates comfortable housing, which has been built right on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes are for mily members to reside in while their veteran loved ones are hospitalized for illnesses, diseases or injuries. There is absolutely no fee for milies and it enables them to stay close at hand during a most stressful time.

This new program known as REACH, an acronym for Resources for Enhancing Alzheimers Caregivers Health, has proven to provide stress reducing solutions and furnishes vital resources along with training. It also focuses on personal health. This can give much needed help to caregivers as they struggle to assist their beloved veterans.

The other option available is, of course, institutionalization. The cost for this type of care is upwards of $70,000 per year, per patient. But now, with the creation of this new and valuable program, whether our veterans are hospitalized or living outside of their homes, the VA will be lending caregiver support.

Fifty-four million adults in the United States provide unpaid care to an adult mily member or friend. Forty percent say they didnt have a choice in taking on their caregiver role and more than 50 percent have experienced medium to high levels of stress as a result of the demands laid upon them.

The REACH pilot program rendered caregivers with 12 individual home and telephone counseling sessions, a Caregiver Quick Guide with 48 behavioral and stress topics, education on safety and patient behavior management along with direction for their own health and well-being.

Caregivers have reported tgreater eastern primary healthhat their burdens seemed reduced and noticed a drop in symptoms of depression.

With major budget cuts headlining the news these days, its noteworthy to mention that the Veterans Administration (VA) is currently implementing a caregiver support program that is becoming available nationwide.

REACH is the first national clinical exercise in proven behavioral intervention for dementia caregivers. There are local caregiver support coordinators available to assist veterans of all eras, along with their caregivers, in applying and understanding VAs caregiver benefits.

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