The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, VA and USAA Launch New Alliance to Integrate Caregivers Into Veterans Medical Care

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“The Campaign for Inclusive Care” will develop a model intervention resulting in more inclusive, better healthcare for veterans and their caregivers.

“In launching The Campaign for Inclusive Care, we are bringing together VHA healthcare providers, culture change experts, and caregivers to examine the barriers to inclusive care and develop a model to address these challenges systemically."

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, in partnership with the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, announced the formation of a new, groundbreaking initiative called, “The Campaign for Inclusive Care,” focused on ensuring that military caregivers are integrated fully as part of their service member or veteran’s medical team.

Supported by a generous philanthropic investment from USAA, the program will create a model intervention, educating thousands of doctors, nurses and social workers within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system on effective caregiver support that results in a culture of care that is inclusive of military and veteran caregivers. The Campaign for Inclusive Care is led by the Foundation as part of a long-term strategic partnership with the VA and in collaboration with health system researchers from Duke University, curriculum experts from PsychArmor, and other advisors.

“We know that too many caregivers are left out of their veterans’ medical care. This causes tremendous stress for the entire military family.” said Senator Elizabeth Dole, CEO and founder of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “In launching The Campaign for Inclusive Care, we are bringing together VHA healthcare providers, culture change experts, and caregivers to examine the barriers to inclusive care and develop a model to address these challenges systemically. Our hope is that this model could be taken outside the walls of the VA, to health systems across the country as more and more Americans take on caregiving roles.”

Research from the RAND Corporation has shown that veterans have the best chance to recover and thrive when they have a strong, well-supported caregiver. However, far too often, the caregiver is excluded from their veteran’s medical team. This exclusion hits the caregivers hard and can set the tone for their entire caregiving journey, contributing to their physical, emotional, and financial stress.

VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin praised the work of VA’s caregivers and saluted the partnership with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

“At VA, our caregivers are selfless, hidden heroes, and we appreciate all the work they do,” Shulkin said. “We are proud to join the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as partners who understand and value the role of caregivers and the sacrifice they make day in and day out.”

“USAA is proud to support the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and its mission to empower caregivers across their journey, and leverage the work of every sector to make that goal a reality,” said Harriet Dominique, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs at USAA. “The Campaign for Inclusive Care will not only be revolutionary for the veteran healthcare system, it is an effort that we know will dramatically improve the health and wellbeing of caregivers for years to come.”

The first-year pilot will take place across three Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs). Backed by comprehensive research on caregiver-healthcare provider interactions, a solutions team of providers, caregivers and experts will determine the necessary components for culture change within VHA. Together, this group will provide the foundation for The Academy for Inclusive Care, an online learning platform that will support a campaign for culture change among doctors, nurses, and social workers.

“The caregiver functions as the doctor, the nurse, and the social worker outside the confines of the VA,” said Steve Schwab, Executive Director of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “Including the caregiver in the care team will help VHA healthcare providers and caregivers achieve their shared goal of providing the highest quality care to veterans inside and outside the VA.”

The pilot project is expected to impact 125,000 caregivers in the first year alone and is designed to scale quickly.

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About Elizabeth Dole Foundation
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers – the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill or injured veterans at home. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its support and advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities to recognize military caregivers’ service and promote their well-being. Learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation at http://www.elizabethdolefoundation.org.

The Hidden Heroes Campaign, an initiative of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and provides a safe, secure place where caregivers can meet and access carefully vetted resources at HiddenHeroes.org. Another aspect of the Campaign, Hidden Heroes Cities, is an effort to galvanize local leaders across America to identify military caregivers in their communities and the local resources to support them. To date, 105 cities from San Antonio to New York, from Washington, DC to San Diego have signed on. Learn more about Hidden Heroes at http://www.hiddenheroes.org.

About USAA
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 12 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.

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Meghan Swope
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