Caring for the Caregiver; the Heroes’ Hero.


Clasped hands.

Caregivers are tremendous sources of care and support for their wounded, ill and injured Service members.

 

A message from John R. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy

Caregivers are a growing, yet unrecognized, community within our nation’s military population, and like the wounded, ill or injured Service member they care for, they face enormous pressures and make tremendous sacrifices. They have given up careers and moved great distances to sit beside and advocate for their recovering hero. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

One of my priorities in 2013 is to focus on the caregivers; how can we support them while their Service member is faced with the challenges of accepting their “new normal” and transitioning to civilian life?

Last week, I had the honor of spending a full day with some of these caregivers; parents and spouses of Service members from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.  They shared with me their stories, their struggles, and their strength; they humbled and inspired me.

Using their feedback and insights, my team is developing an agenda for a Caregiver Symposium with caregivers, policy experts and subject matter experts to develop solutions and continue to address concerns important to the caregiver community.  Some topics we will address:

  • Medical administrative procedures (i.e. the need for standardization of forms and care among the Services, what to expect when entering the hospital for the first time and at time of discharge)
  • Legal issues/concerns (i.e. medical, general and fiduciary power of attorney)
  • Caregiver support (i.e. peer mentoring, intimacy, self-awareness and availability of mental health treatment)
  • Financial education and assistance (i.e. calculating pay and benefits post-separation, Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living availability and payments)
  • Invisible Wounds (i.e. the stigma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), recognizing the signs of – and dealing with the behavior stemming from- PTSD and TBI)

I’m looking forward to this event and the opportunity to serve our heroes’ heroes.