Must-Have Caregiving Tools From the Veterans Administration
Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2019
If you are caring for a veteran, you may not realize that you have some free online caregiving tools available to you already. In fact, there are many online resources available to caregivers of veterans.
Caregiving Tools From the VA
So, whether you need to learn more about a condition or a disease, get organized, or find out what all is available for veterans, here are some handy online caregiving tools from the Veterans Administration (VA):
Everyday Checklists From the VA
One way to organize your day as a caregiver is to employ handy checklists with important must-do tasks. The VA takes much of the work out of creating everyday checklists by giving caregivers all of the information needed to create their own custom lists:
- Patient File Checklist (PDF): This informative document explains how to create a clear and conclusive health file, including everything that you and the health care provider need to know about your veteran’s health record. The single most important thing you can do to promote clear communication and function effectively as a Family Caregiver is to create and maintain a comprehensive file of information about the veteran you're caring for.
- Tips for Communicating With Your Veteran's Health Care Team (PDF): When caring for a veteran with a disabling condition, it’s vital to be able to effectively communicate with the veteran’s health care team. Learning how to talk to a nurse, physician and other health care providers will enable caregivers to ask the right questions and get the answers needed. This PDF was created to help caregivers learn about effective communication, including how to effectively relay your loved one’s health status with the team, questions you may have and more. The document includes a list of sample questions you may want to jot down before the next visit to the VA health care provider.
Information on Caregiving: by Diagnosis
When a person is initially diagnosed with a medical condition, learning what to expect is a top priority. The VA has organized its caregiving tips by diagnosis and these diagnostic care sheets are written in simple language that is easy to locate and understand.
The VA reports that new care sheets are continually being developed, so, if you don’t see your loved one’s condition on the list below, be sure to check back frequently.
The VA’s Diagnostic Care Sheets
- Alzheimer's Disease (PDF)
- Family Caregivers Guide to Intimacy (PDF)
- Family Caregivers Guide to Parkinson's (PDF)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (PDF)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (PDF)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) (PDF)
Resources for Those New to Caregiving
If you are a new caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed. Keep in mind that this is a normal feeling for those who are new to caregiving. That’s why the VA designed some informative tools and online information that is easy to assess. The tools help educate people on just what to expect as a caregiver and how to balance life with so many new responsibilities.
Not only does the VA provide a plethora of online support, but you can also find out about local services by contacting the Caregiving Support Line at 1-855-260-3274. The support line has caring professionals standing by to help answer your questions and point you in the right direction when local services are needed.
The VA Caregiver Toolbox
Whether you need some educational tools or tips on how to go about planning for the care recipient, the VA Caregiver Tool Box will help you find what you are looking for.
The following resources were designed to help caregivers get organized and stay on top of the daily caregiving protocol:
- Crisis Symptom Reporting Guide (PDF): Along the same lines as a hospitalization, reporting crisis symptoms can engender quite a bit of stress. What needs to be reported? This PDF was designed to help.
- Telephone Tips and Techniques for Accessing Resources (PDF): When you need to pick up the phone and get in touch with a person at the VA, it can be a frustrating process. The Telephone Tips and Techniques PDF includes how to find answers to specific questions or how to set up services needed when calling various service providers.
- The VA RESCUE Website for Caregivers: Resources and Education for Stroke Caregivers’ Understanding and Empowerment (RESCUE) is considered a lifeline to help caregivers “keep their head above water.” For caregivers that care for a veteran who has had a stroke, this special website is jam-packed with informative and useful material and resources. The website is written in two languages (including English and Spanish). There are 44 fact sheets that simplify everything you need to know about caregiving, including self-help tools.
- Tips for Preventing Medication Mishaps (PDF): Administering medications is a common daily task for most caregivers. The VA has created a PDF to help caregivers learn how to avoid medication errors and how to safely manage a loved one’s daily medication regime. The VA knows that most patients take many different medications each day and there may even be more than one prescribing provider. Using a medication log can help caregivers keep a clear and concise record of what’s been given each day. This can serve as a great resource for avoiding medication errors. The log should be taken to each appointment that the veteran has with the health care provider.
- What to Do When the Veteran You Care For Is Hospitalized (PDF): Designed to help caregivers and veterans cope with the stress that a hospital inpatient stay can cause, the VA created a PDF called "What to Do When the Veteran You Care for is Hospitalized."