VA respite care for veterans and caregivers

By Mary Markovich

Affordable VA Accreditation Training

Many caregivers provide home health care for a veteran who is a relative or loved one. This home health care enables the veteran to stay in a home setting for a longer period of time, rather than moving to a nursing home.

However, in time, the caregiver may be in need of respite services. During the respite time, the caregiver has the opportunity to temporarily have personal time to relive tension and stress that is often related to the emotional and physical demands of care giving.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, under the Veterans Health Administration, operates one of the largest health care delivery systems in the world. The system consists primarily of centralized comprehensive medical centers, most of which are affiliated with university medical schools, counseling centers, as well as nursing homes and domiciliary.

Respite services are also available through the VHA. Veterans may be eligible for up to 15 days per calendar year of respite care provided through a VA Medical Center. This service allows a veteran’s home health care giver an opportunity to rest and recover, while the veteran is provided excellent temporary skilled nursing home level care at a VAMC.

Each VAMC maintains a staff that can be contacted to discuss specific eligibility requirements and method of application. It is recommended that they be consulted prior to making a formal application to discuss these issues and to insure program availability.