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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence

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MS Caregivers/Partners - Taking Care of You!

Caregivers and Care Partners are very important to our Veterans with MS! It's important to take care of yourself as you care for your loved one with MS. If you aren’t healthy, it's harder to provide good care. 

VA Caregiver Support's audio guide can get you started to help restore your emotional balance.

The National Resource Directory (NRD) is a great resource website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers to programs and services that support them. 

Caregiver and Veteran web resources and FREE courses by the VA and PsychArmor Institute about VA Caregiver Benefits 

The VA Office of Rural Health has a great website of resources for Veterans and a Caregivers Video Series. 

The National MS Society is our community partner, and has CarePartner resources to assist people with MS and their Caregivers/Care Partners.
Contact an MS Navigator if you need help identifying carepartner resources in your community.
See CarePartner Support Services resource guide listing organizations offering support and information to family carepartners and Guide for Caregivers and other publications.


Respite Care - All Veterans and Caregivers are eligible for 30 days of respite care per year.
Home Healthcare Services
Aid and Attendance support
Advanced Care Planning
Understanding Long Term Care Options


VA Caregiver Support Program  Caregiver Support Line – 1-855-260-3274 
VA Caregiver Program MS Fact Sheet for Family Caregivers  See also updated National MS Society Link on Veterans with MS
    

New! REACH VA - MS is "Resources for Enhancing all Caregivers Health of Veterans for Multiple Sclerosis." REACH VA-MS is for VA Caregivers and Care Partners of Veterans with MS.

REACH VA - MS helps Family Caregivers/Care Partners/Spouses develop skills and strategies in stress management, coping, problem-solving, and mood management. Relaxation techniques are also taught.


Cover of Caregiver Notebook MS for REACH VA MS program. Images of 4 different couples and families to reflect the MS population.

Ask your VA MS Care Team or VA Caregiver Coordinator if a Caregiver REACH VA-MS program or other support group is available at your VA. REACH Coaches are Certified REACH VA Program Coaches to help Caregivers develop skills in stress management, disease-specific knowledge, and coping strategies to reduce Caregiver stress and burden. 

Caregiver Resources and Presentations

•  Burnout
    Coping with Caregiver Burnout

    Tips for Managing Caregiver Burnout

•  Caregiver Guides
    
Multiple Sclerosis: A Guide for Patients, Families, and Caregivers (American Academy of Neurology) 

    YouTube Video

•  Communication Skills

    Caregiver Communication: Taking Care of You
    Caregivers: Working Well with your Providers
    Choosing Your Words: Harnessing the Power of Communication
    Setting Boundaries: Defining What is Best for You, the Caregiver
 
•  Depression and MS   

    Depression and Suicide Risk in MS: How Caregivers Can Help! 
   

•  Emotions and MS   
    Emotional Changes in the Veteran with MS: Tips for the MS Caregiver
    Tempering the Tyrant: Finding Anger’s Rightful Place 

•  Goal-setting/Problem-solving
   
Making my Goals Matter: Looking Forward to the Year Ahead
    Exploring Problem Solving Skills for Caregivers

•  Happiness and Quality of Life 

    Everyday Matters Program - National MS Society  

   
•  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Veterans and their Caregivers

•  Medication Management - MS Disease Modifying Therapies

    DMTs & Caregiving

•  Mood and Mental Health Concerns
   
Understanding MS Mood Changes
   

•  Occupational Therapy
    Occupational Therapy for MS Patients 
   
•  Pain
    Easing Pain in MS for your Loved Ones & Yourself

•  Physical Rehabiliation
    MS & Physical Therapy
   
•  Post-traumatic Stress
    National Center for PTSD - Veterans/Family/Friends

•  Relationship Building
   
Leaning into Love: Building Strong Relationship Bonds
   
•  Self Care Handouts from VA Caregiver Support:
   
Self Care when Caring for Loved One with Mental Health Concerns
    Caregiver Self Care: Embracing the Magic in the Moment
    Creating a Space for You: Caring for a Loved One at Home
    Preserving Caregivers on the Front Lines
    Stepping into Stillness

•  Spasticity

    Bend and Not Break: Controlling spasticity before it controls your loved ones

•  Stress Management
    Mindfulness Stress Reduction
    Guided Imagery (scroll down to “Visualization of Relaxation Techniques” video)
    Caregiver Stress 
    Relaxation Exercises 
    Yoga (gentle)
    Tai Chi (gentle)

•  Travel with MS

    Travel Resources for travelers with disabilities
    Transportation and Driving


•  Wellness
   
Caregiver Wellness 
    Negotiating the Emotional Milestones of Aging, Illness and Caregiving


MS Centers of Excellence Research & Presentations 
   
Research and Caregivers
    Research Studies 
    Professional Presentations  


MS Organizations
    Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

    Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
    National MS Society  
    ♦  A Guide for Caregivers
    National Alliance for Caregiving: Multiple Sclerosis Caregivers 2012 Report

Veteran Service Organizations - Serving Veterans with MS    
    Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
    Disabled American Veterans


Military/National Guard & Reserve/Veterans
    Caring for Military Families - Elizabeth Dole Foundation  

    Hidden Heroes - Elizabeth Dole Foundation
    Care for Wounded Soldiers Caregiver's Support Kit® 
    Military Families Learning Network - Military Caregiving  
    Service Members & Families - Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury
    The Real Warriors Campaign - Psychological Health Concerns - Family Support    
   
    
General Resources 
    Caregiver Action Network

    Caregiver Stress support at WomensHealth.org
    CareGiving.com
    CaringToday.com
    Family Caregiver Alliance - National Center on Caregiving
    National Caregiving Foundation

    National Family Caregivers Association 
    National Resource Directory
    Share the Care
    Today's Caregiver

 


MSCoE Social Workers

Maggie Kazmierski
MSW, LCSW-C, MSCS
MSCOE-East
VA Greater Maryland
Baltimore, MD

Alicia Sloan
MPH, MSW, LICSW
MSCOE-West
VA Puget Sound
Seattle, WA

Jan Spencer
MSW, LCSW
MSCOE-West
VA Portland
Portland, OR