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Veteran Home Care: Navigating VA Services for Older Veterans

By , 9:14 am on
home care for older veterans

The U.S. elderly population continues to grow older, with agencies and health care programs seeking better ways to provide effective and affordable health care.

Leading the way for many years, the Veterans Administration (VA) continues to provide innovative programs. In spite of its bureaucratic difficulties you have probably read about, the VA has a focused mission to help aging veterans. VA pioneers high-quality options, despite budget restrictions and the mounting numbers of older adults. Veterans needing home care has quadrupled since 2000, with VA medical centers responding by adding palliative care programs that improve the quality of life for patients facing life-threatening illnesses.

VA has reason to lead the way in innovative care, with veterans having a median age of 64 years, compared to 44 years for those who are not veterans. 10,000 boomers are turning 65 years old each day, with veterans aging in even higher numbers. This has created a demand for novel solutions.

The VA population of people over 85 years has tripled between 2000 and 2010. Thus, the VA has been proactive in creating social, behavioral, and physical health care options to meet the needs of veterans. Their personally tailored approach allows veterans to customize their services based on their home care needs and personal preferences at their late stage of life.

An innovate hospice program which harmonizes with palliative care allows medical treatments to be administered during hospice care. Medicare doesn’t permit both together, so a person with kidney failure might be forced to forgo dialysis if choosing hospice care.

The VA’s approach means veterans don’t have to forgo medical treatments if they elect for hospice care. Hopefully, this option will influence Medicare to provide a similar offering.

VA’s novel services that combined with home care are found to reduce pain and make it easier for patients and their families to transition into the last phase of life. Initial concerns that it would be more expensive were proven wrong as it’s been proven that it’s less expensive than the hospice-only alternative. Adding palliative home care reduced hospitalizations, reducing total health care costs.

Home care options for aging adults are part of the answer to rising health care costs. If you’re trying to navigate through options for you or your loved one, call your local Home Care Assistance office. We can help you sort through your home care options. Connect with us today!