Home Health Care Salutes the Men and Women Who Served Our Country
With November 11 being Veterans Day, there’s no better time to honor the men and women who have served our country. Veterans Day is a U.S. legal holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars. Back in 1918, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, according to History.com. Known previously as Armistice Day, Veterans Day didn’t become a federal holiday until 1938. Here at Pathways Home Health, we want to honor all of our brave veterans who fought for our freedom so we can enjoy the liberties we have today.
Many of our patients and clients are veterans. Ranging from Gulf War survivors to Vietnam, we work frequently with those who have laid down their lives for our country. And for that, we are grateful! Many veterans, especially those who are disabled or aging and can’t live completely on their own any longer, enlist the help of home health care to maintain their independence and remain in their houses for as long as possible.
Health Challenges for Veterans
The wounds of war go well beyond the battlefield, often manifesting in physical and psychological conditions upon returning home. As such, this population requires unique health care needs that must be addressed. There are, unfortunately, many health concerns facing our veterans today, including:
- Musculoskeletal injuries and pain: Veterans frequently cite ongoing pain in their backs, necks, knees or shoulders, with studies showing that 100,000 veterans of the Gulf War two decades ago report chronic muscle pain, says Live Science. Regular, sustained exercise can cut down on the pain and avoid disability.
- Mental health issues: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is extremely common and gets a lot of press; however, other mental issues often go largely unnoticed, such as violent behavior, depression, and alcohol abuse.
- Infectious disease: While military personnel are provided with routine vaccinations before being deployed, veterans suffer from infections that civilians don’t typically experience and for which vaccines are unavailable. For example, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers vaccines for common bacterial infections.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A blow to the head can damage the brain, a common injury suffered by soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blast exposures and other combat-related activities can put soldiers at an increased risk for developing several long-term health problems, such as dementia, aggression, memory loss, depression, and Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms, says the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Other common effects of TBI include short attention spans, inability to process information, irritability, depression, headaches and lack of motivation.
- Hearing loss: Hearing loss and impairment are common side effects of noise originating from loud gunfire, weapons, aircraft, and engine rooms. Those who frequently work with machinery may suffer vibration exposure, leading to chronic lower back pain or numbness in the hands and fingers.
All of these unique health needs and more are best handled by a team in collaboration with a host of other providers, backed by the support of the family and community as a whole.
Home Health Team: Helping Veterans Remain Independent
The home health care staff is varied, with many professionals each providing an invaluable service to the veteran. Here are just a few of the professionals on staff who can visit the home of a veteran and provide support.
- Physical and occupational therapists: Provide therapy for musculoskeletal injuries and pain as part of a coordinated rehabilitation plan based on the patient’s needs and goals.
- Social worker: Provides short-term counseling in regards to PTSD and other mental health issues, gives advice about resource planning and helps with long-term care arrangements if required.
- Nurses: Evaluate the veteran, provide assessments to the physician, offer hands-on care, and educate the patient about their condition and its treatment, pain control, and medication.
- Home health aides: Help with personal care such as dressing and bathing for those with limited physical abilities.
These are just a few crucial members of the home health team. There are many others that contribute to the effort for a well-rounded suite of services.
How We Help
Pathways is sensitive to veterans’ needs. We know the unique health risks and care needs that veterans require and do all we can to ensure they are met. From post-traumatic stress disorder to exposure to chemical agents, we also know that they face unique mental health issues as a result of their service, which is why our medical social workers are trained in the special needs of veterans. They can provide access to community resources available to veterans and their families. Plus, we know all the factors that determine eligibility for specialized VA services, partnering with local VA facilities to coordinate the best care.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
For more information on what we do to cater to the needs of veterans, please contact us at 888-755-7855.