The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that all check-ins with home caregivers of disabled veterans will be virtual for the foreseeable future.
The switch from in-home to virtual visits is a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak and is designed to protect the health of the vulnerable veteran population and their caregivers, as well as VA employees, officials said.
The VA conducts visits to family caregivers who are providing in-home care for veterans who:
- Have a serious injury -- including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma or other mental disorder.
- Need personal care services because of an inability to perform one or more activities of daily living and/or need supervision or protection based on symptoms or residuals of neurological impairment or injury.
The veteran must be enrolled in the VA health care program and the injury must be service-connected.
The VA caregiver program provides many benefits to family members who are caregivers of eligible veterans, including:
- Caregiver training
- A monthly stipend
- Travel expenses (including lodging and per diem while accompanying veterans undergoing care)
- Mental health services and counseling
- Respite care (not less than 30 days per year)
The VA is required by law to visit the homes of veterans who are participating in the family caregiver program to assess the caregiver's completion of training and competence to provide personal care services. The VA also conducts home visits to measure the eligible veteran's well-being and assess conditions in the home on a regular basis.
For the duration of the national emergency related to COVID-19 declared by President Donald Trump on March 13, 2020, the VA will conduct all visits via either telephone or video chat.
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