VA Medical Foster Homes Offer Veterans Personalized Care
Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2018
The ability to “age in place” and spend one’s senior years in the comfort of a home, cared for and surrounded by family or friends, seems like an impossibility to many seniors, especially to U.S. veterans who find themselves alone, on a limited budget or physically impaired.
Through its Medical Foster Home (MFH) program, however, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has discovered a solution that seems to be a win-win situation: qualifying veterans are placed in high-quality, well-vetted homes where they live with an on-site, licensed caregiver in a family setting. Read more about these medical foster homes offering veterans personalized care.
VA Medical Foster Home Care
Through the program, one to three veterans are placed in private homes and cared for around-the-clock by a caregiver who owns the home, eating at a family table, relaxing in a living room or porch and sharing their lives with others who become like family.
This more personalized level of care and increased socialization are attractive to many veterans who long for a normal home setting despite not being able to care for themselves independently.
This situation also seems to be a win for the VA budget, as the current format requires the veteran to pay the foster home directly (in amounts that are typically within their disability, retirement, savings or Social Security funds) and receive health care in the form of in-home visits from an interdisciplinary care team. Both stipulations save the VA substantial amounts of costs in caring for veterans, as well as preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and re-admittance to VA clinics.
In 1999, the VA received the directive to provide nursing home services to veterans who qualify for VA health care and have a service-connected disability rating of 70% or higher, or are considered unemployable and have a disability rating of 60% or higher. This traditionally was accomplished through community living centers on VA hospital grounds, long or short-term nursing home facilities, private assisted living communities, respite care and state veterans homes. However, as clinics looked for more options to care for their veterans, pilot programs placed veterans in approved caregiver homes.
The cost for this option is roughly $60 a day per veteran, including administration and health care expenses, compared with the more than $500 a day spent per veteran in nursing home care.
Participants in the program are required to use the VA's Home-Based Primary Care program, which entails an interdisciplinary team of health professionals coming to the foster home for in-home medical treatment. One study showed that the home-based care resulted in a 59% drop in VA hospital inpatient days and a 31% reduction in admissions, saving the VA even more. Today, more than 120 medical foster homes are working with the VA in locations across the U.S.
To be eligible for placement in VA medical foster homes, a veteran must meet several requirements, including:
- Be able to cover the associated monthly fees (payment is based on the level of care needed by the veteran; VA staff will assist veterans in applying for any financial programs for which they may be eligible).
- Be enrolled in VA health care and be eligible for and willing to accept enrollment in Home Based Primary Care.
- Do not have a service-connected disability.
- Need nursing home level-of-care.