Leveraging institutional support for family caregivers to meet the health and vocational needs of persons with disabilities.
BACKGROUND: Family caregivers might enhance veteran engagement in health and nonhealth services (i.e., vocational/educational assistance). PURPOSE: To describe how veterans with disabilities perceive their recovery needs, identify types of social support from caregivers that help veterans engage in Veterans Affairs (VA) health and nonhealth services, and explore participant views of VA institutional support for caregivers to help veterans engage in these services. METHODS: Joint in-depth qualitative interviews with U.S. veterans and family caregivers (n = 26). FINDINGS: Caregivers performed social support functions that helped veterans engage in health and vocational/educational services and institutional support from VA enhanced caregivers' capacity. DISCUSSION: Caregivers are well positioned to align health and nonhealth services with patient needs to enhance recovery. Staffing a point person for caregivers within the health system is key to help families develop a coordinated plan of treatment and services to improve patient success across health and nonhealth domains. Nurses are well suited to perform this role.
Shepherd-Banigan, M; Sperber, N; McKenna, K; Pogoda, TK; Van Houtven, CH
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