National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
Volunteers in several communities will have the chance to serve Veterans and their caregivers through a new partnership between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that leads national volunteering and service efforts.
CNCS’ Senior Corps is a network of service programs for volunteers age 55 or older, who offer their time to a wide range of community needs. Through the VA-CNCS partnership, volunteers will support VA’s Choose Home initiative, which enables Veterans at risk of institutionalization to stay in their homes.
Senior Corps volunteers provide homemaker and in-home respite care to assist eligible Veterans and their caregivers. As a result, these Veterans can remain in their own homes, live more independently, and stay close to their families, caregivers, and support services. Homemakers assist with many activities, including preparing meals and performing light housekeeping. Respite care volunteers temporarily relieve caregivers of their duties so that they can rest, run errands, or attend to other needs outside of the home.
As part of a VA-funded pilot program, CNCS is providing volunteer support in five communities: Colorado Springs, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; Missoula, Montana; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and San Antonio, Texas.
“More and more, Veterans and their families and caregivers are asking to receive care in their homes and communities rather than in institutions,” said Dr. Tracy Weistreich, acting director of Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA’s) Office of Community Engagement (OCE). “These volunteers’ efforts will help us respond to that request, and the partnership offers the volunteers a chance to give back.”
Through this CNCS partnership, Senior Corps volunteers will receive training in suicide awareness and prevention before providing services in Veterans’ homes. They will also receive ongoing training on a variety of Veteran-related topics. This training will educate volunteers on a broad range of Veteran- and caregiver-specific issues and will help them make a difference in their communities.
An example of a free online training resource that volunteers can use is PsychArmor, which offers 16 training courses related to military culture. PsychArmor helps volunteers better engage with and support service members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers.
OCE is committed to bringing effective partnerships like this one to life across VHA. For more on OCE’s work, please visit https://www.va.gov/healthpartnerships/index.asp.
VA facilities interested in partnering with CNCS can contact their CNCS state director. More information about contacting state directors can be found at https://nationalservice.gov/about/contact-us/state-offices.
Posted October 4, 2019