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"As you age, VA Cheyenne will be there every step of the way"

man in wheelchair petting a dog that is sitting on a recliner. A nurse is watching and smiling in the background.
VA Cheyenne launches Medical Foster Home Program, expanding compassionate care to Vets in Northern Colorado, Southern Wyoming and Western Nebraska

VA Cheyenne Health Care System has launched a Medical Foster Home (MFH) program helping Veterans to remain in their community, maintain their social connections and participate in everyday family life.

Moments like this

Imagine the morning sun shining through the curtains, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

You hear Buddy, a Vietnam Veteran and resident of this medical foster home, share a light-hearted moment with his caregivers.

"Is this what family feels like?" he asks while sipping his cup of joe. His smile reflects contentment. 

"Of course, it is," responds Mr. Allen. "We can't imagine life without our Buddy," adds Mrs. Allen, emphasizing their connection.

With the launch of its Medical Foster Home program, VA Cheyenne aims to build similar bonds for generations of Veterans to come.

An advocate for Veterans  

Amy Windschitl, the MFH program's coordinator, brings a wealth of professional experience and personal understanding to her role. 

Her VA journey began in Central Iowa's Caregiver Support program, where she developed a deep understanding and appreciation for Veterans' intricate needs. 

"I've seen the challenges our older Veterans face," said Windschitl. "They've sacrificed so much. It's our turn to enhance their quality of life." 

Her commitment is deeply personal, influenced by the experiences of a Veteran close to her heart. Her vision is to foster a supportive and nurturing environment for every Veteran. 

"As you age, VA Cheyenne will be there every step of the way," said Windschitl.  

Science behind the program  

Medical foster homes have been proven to be a great option for long-term care, according to studies on VA medical foster homes. These studies also suggest that Veterans who receive care in a family-style setting experience noteworthy improvements in their overall quality of life and well-being.   

"These homes offer inclusive care, integrating Veterans into the daily rhythm of family life," said Windschitl. 

The studies on medical foster homes also finds these homes to be more cost-effective than traditional nursing homes, with better health outcomes for Veterans.  

A comprehensive care approach  

The MFH program is an innovative alternative to nursing homes, offering 24-hour supervision and personal help in a family setting. 

Veterans who require nursing home-level care but prefer a non-institutional setting benefit from the personalized help in the program. VA thoroughly vets and trains caregivers. 

Home-Based Primary Care is also vital benefit of the program. 

Veterans in the MFH program receive comprehensive care from a multidisciplinary team, including medical providers, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, pharmacists, therapists, social workers and chaplains.  

This team offers health care and help directly in the comfort of each Veteran's home, ensuring a holistic approach to meet their individual needs. 

With nearly 800 enrolled Veterans and over 500 caregivers across 43 states, the program emphasizes a long-term commitment, matching Veterans with homes that cater to their physical, social and emotional needs.  

Eligibility and program benefits 

The Cleland-Dole Act allows VA to cover the cost for eligible Veterans who are 70% service-connected or higher and qualify for VA-paid long-term care.

However, suppose a Veteran does not meet these requirements. In that case, the Veterans or their family will handle all costs associated with the MFH program. 

Join the effort 

VA Cheyenne's MFH program offers a special chance to make a difference in Veterans' lives.  By joining their effort as a caregiver, you can provide individualized care to Veterans while being compensated for your services.  

If you feel moved to open your home and heart to a Veteran, please don't hesitate to reach out to Amy Windschitl at 970-361-5126 or learn more about the MFH program.  

"Your involvement can profoundly affect our Veterans' lives, offering them the respect and quality of life they deserve," said Windschitl. 

MFH has been frequently highlighted in many national, regional and local news segments. Watch MFH in action here.  

Jesus Flores is a writer & editor on the VISN 19 Creative Task Force and a Marine Corps Veteran. 

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