This summer, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department will provide 1,000 family caregivers with Apple iPads to help improve at home care for veterans. The iPads are part of the pilot project Clinic-in-Hand and will come with health care applications and applications integrating the VA data system. Clinic-in-Hand is a project through the VA to help improve veterans’ access to mobile applications. In early 2013, the VA applications store will launch and the applications available from the pilot project will be available to all veterans. Clinic-in-Hand is being developed by a Washington, D.C.-based verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, District Communications Group LLC.
Primary caregivers currently enrolled in the VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program will be invited to participate in the Clinic-in-Hand pilot project, and 1,000 eligible participants will be randomly selected this summer. The Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program is part of the 2010 Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.
The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act makes a number of other new services available for family caregivers including a monthly stipend, travel expenses, access to health insurance, mental health services and counseling, comprehensive VA Caregiver training, and respite care. Eligibility for these services is limited however to veterans who sustained a serious injury (including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma or other mental disorder) incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, on or after September 11, 2001. Click here to see if you or someone you know is eligible and to learn more about the available benefits.
Currently few MS caregivers are using high-tech medication support systems, caregiver trainings, and caregiving coordinated care systems—not because of lack of interest, but because of lack of access. Veterans living with MS and their caregivers who meet eligibility requirements under the law could gain access through this great new pilot project. Congrats to the VA for making this progress possible!