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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 balance. Check out Caregiver Resources below.

Check out these 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: Maintaining Your Center of Gravity When Caring for a Veteran Loved One

Ask your VA Social Worker or VA Caregiver Coordinator if a Caregiver REACH VA-MS program or other support group is available at your VA. REACH VA-MS is a self care group or individual sessions specific for MS Caregivers.

New! REACH MS is tailored to VA Caregivers of MS.



For more information about REACH VA-MS contact: 
Alicia.Sloan@va.gov
(VA Puget Sound, Seattle)
Margaret.Kazmierski@va.gov (Baltimore VA).


Providers: Help support MS Caregivers! Become a certified REACH VA facilitator.

General REACH VA Training
Telephone based
Training 
REACH VA (Resources for Enhancing all Caregivers Health of Veterans) is an evidence-based program for Caregivers. 

Certified REACH VA facilitators teach from a curriculum that
helps Caregivers develop skills in stress management, disease-specific knowledge, and coping strategies to reduce Caregiver stress and burden. 

REACH VA can be used for telephone-based or in-person groups or individuals.
 

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

VA Caregiver Support Program  Caregiver Support Line – 1-855-260-3274
♦  Presentation: Caregiver Support Program at the VA 
         ♦  VA MS Fact Sheet for Family Caregivers  
         ♦ 
VA Caregiver Workbook 
         ♦  Self-Care Assessment and Daily Attention Diary
         ♦  Diagnosis Care Sheets
         ♦  Everyday Tips and Checklists


Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 press 1
Caregivers can call the crisis line if you are concerned about your loved one and need help right away.

Resources and Presentations by VA MS Specialists and VA Caregiver Support Program

•  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
    Anger and Caregiving: 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 – How to Feel Better and Get Things Done

•  Happiness and Quality of Life 

    Everyday Matters-NMSS Program at the 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 Patient
   
•  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
   
•  Spasticity
    Bend and Not Break: Controlling spasticity before it controls your loved ones

•  Stress Management
    Mindfulness Stress Reduction 
    Caregiver Stress 
    Relaxation Exercises 
   
•  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    
    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

    National Caregiving Foundation
    ♦  Care for Wounded Soldiers Caregiver's Support Kit® 
    National Family Caregivers Association 
    National Resource Directory
    Share the Care
    Today's Caregiver

 

MSCOE Social Workers

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

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


Description: Jan Spencer
Jan Spencer
MSW, LCSW
MSCOE West
VA Portland
Portland, OR