VA’s Telephone Service Helps Family Members Encourage Veterans to Seek Medical Care
September 6, 2011
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WASHINGTON (September 6, 2011) – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
has launched a telephone service, Coaching into Care, to provide
assistance to family members and friends trying to encourage their
Veteran to seek health care for possible readjustment and mental health
"Those closest to Veterans are often the first to recognize when
Veterans are having difficulties," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Eric K. Shinseki. "Family members and friends may not know what to say
to encourage their Veterans to seek much needed readjustment and health
care. The Coaching into Care line will help them find the right words."
To help Veterans address problems and support Veterans in making
decisions about getting care, the Coaching into Care program offers
unlimited, free coaching with family members or friends over a series of
telephone calls. The priority is connecting Veterans with VA care in
their community through the family member's help and encouragement.
Callers receive professional coaching on solving specific logistical
obstacles and encouraging sometimes reluctant Veterans to seek care
while still respecting the Veteran's right to make personal decisions.
Coaching into Care, launched in March 2011, has had more than 650 calls
with family members or friends of greater than 175 Veterans to encourage
them to seek care. This phone line is connected to VA's Veterans
Crisis Line, Caregiver Support Line, and the National Call Center for
Homeless Veterans. This way, if the caller or Veteran is in an immediate
crisis, or has concerns regarding caregiving for a disabled Veteran, or
seeking assistance regarding homelessness, there is no wrong number for
families to call.
Callers can reach VA's Coaching into Care program at the toll-free
number 1-888-823-7458, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and
online at http://www.mirecc.va.gov/coaching/. As always, Veterans can
reach immediate help at the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255,
press 1 for Veterans.
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Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans