VA’s Caregiver Support Program (CSP) offers services to those caring for Veterans, including on-line courses, face-to-face classes, telephone support, and peer support. Services are offered in addition to support provided by VA clinicians as part of a Veteran’s care. Every VA medical center has a Caregiver Support Coordinator (CSC) who assists with information and referrals. Many of the following programs are also available to Veterans who serve as the family caregiver to a non-Veteran.
Annie Caregiver Text Support: Texting service that promotes self-care for caregivers and Veterans enrolled in VA health care. Three times a week, Annie sends educational or motivational messages, stress management activities, and other tips.
Building Better Caregivers™(BBC): A 6-week online workshop for caregivers of Veterans of all eras caring for someone with dementia, memory problems, PTSD, serious brain injury, or any other serious injury or illness. BBC offers training in how to provide better care, and help caregivers learn to manage their own emotions, stress, and physical health.
Caregiver Self-Care Courses: In-person training focused on supporting and meeting needs of caregivers. Led by trained facilitators, classes are offered in English and Spanish. Topics include: managing stress, lowering stress, improving mood, problem solving, effective communication, taking care of yourself, and handling emotions.
Caregiver Support Line (CSL): Staffed by VA clinical social workers, CSL responds to calls from caregivers, Veterans, and community agencies seeking information about VA caregiver services. CSL provides information about assistance through the VA, offers supportive counseling, and links callers to their local CSC. 1-855-260-3274. Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 10 pm EST. Saturday, 8 am – 5 pm EST.
CSL Caregiver Education Calls: The VA’s National CSL, 1-855-260-3274, offers monthly telephone education calls for caregivers with a theme of “Care for the Caregiver.” Topics change monthly. Scripts and audio recordings can be found on the CSP website.
CSP Website: The CSP website contains tips, tools, videos, and links to resources for caregivers of Veterans of all eras. Visit caregiver.va.gov.
General Telephone Support: Evidence-based intervention delivered by VA clinical staff to provide group sessions to stressed and burdened caregivers. Group sessions can be delivered face-to-face at the VA or by telephone. Topics include: caregivers of all eras, post-911 spouses, dementia, spinal cord injury, ALS, MS, and PTSD.
Peer Support Mentoring (PSM): An opportunity for caregivers to receive guidance, share experiences, wisdom, skills, and passion. This program was developed to strengthen relationships between caregivers, provide an opportunity for networking, and empower caregivers to help one another.
REACH VA Intervention: Resources for Enhancing All Caregivers Health (REACH) is an evidenced-based intervention delivered by VA clinical staff to provide individual support to stressed and burdened caregivers of Veterans with dementia, spinal cord injury, MS, PTSD, and ALS.
Spanish-Speaking Telephone Support Group Caregiver Calls: Quarterly Spanish-speaking calls for all-era CSP participants. Topics include: CSP overview, VA benefits, VA navigation, and caregiver perspectives on caregiving.
Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Caregivers: Education for caregivers of Veterans, including facts about suicide prevention, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment, as well as self-care resources and advice on when to reach out for help.
VA Video Connect (VVC): Using encrypted video that is secure, private, and convenient, VVC provides a flexible option for Veterans and caregivers to meet face-to-face with VA healthcare providers in Virtual Medical Rooms.
For more information on these resources and supports, contact your local CSC or visit caregiver.va.gov.