Caregiving strains families of veterans with severe injuries

[Leslie] Kammerdiener is among thousands of unpaid caregivers ”” parents, spouses, siblings and war buddies ”” helping veterans injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars get through each day, says Barbara Cohoon, deputy director of government relations for the non-profit National Military Family Association. She says the caregivers are a vulnerable group, often under-recognized, and in need of help to navigate the military’s medical system. Cohoon says not all caregivers receive military benefits, even though many have quit jobs, moved out of their homes and drained their savings to care for their loved ones.

“Nobody’s got a handle on numbers, but 7,500 is the number bandied about,” says Cohoon, whose organization provides counseling and helps families negotiate the health system.

The range of injuries caregivers attend to spans from gashes and fractures that will heal, to comas, amputations, burns, paralysis, nerve damage and brain injuries so severe that cognitive function lingers at the toddler level or below.

Read it all and watch the video of Bob Woodruff and his wife Lee also.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, Iraq War, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

One comment on “Caregiving strains families of veterans with severe injuries

  1. Jim K says:

    Although the administration of such a program would be challenging, I believe it is hard to argue that a care-giver for a severely injured veteran whose condition is the result of wounds suffered in combat should be paid by the DVA or DOD if they are unrelated to the veteran but not paid if they are related. I live in San Antonio and see many of the amputees and burn victims from Iraq and Afghanistan who are going through treatment and rehabilitation at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Center for the Intrepid. Their parents, spouses, girl and boy friends, battle buddies, etc. often have given up their entire other lives to devote themselves to caring for them. There are places to live such as the Fisher Houses and the Warrior and Family Support Center to provide some level of assistance, but these are not permanent solutions nor do they provide any income for the care-givers. There is also a good financial argument to be made that paying a care-giver to assist the veteran in his/her own home is much less expensive than the same care in a Veteran’s Hospital or long-term care facility. That would also permit the veteran to live where he/she likes as opposed to being forced to live where a DVA facility is located. In any case, the arguments for financial support to care-givers whose relationship to the veteran is personal or familial are strong, in my opinion. There would be those who take advantage of such a system and abuse it and others who would decline to be paid to do what they believe themselves bound by love and duty to do in any case; but, these considerations should not stand in the way of providing some form of financial support to those who have chosen to care for a loved one cruelly wounded in our nation’s service.