World War II Veteran George Danos’ life changed suddenly when he suffered a spinal cord injury in April 1999. "Before that," said Danos, "I never had a scratch on me. I don’t even remember what happened. I just fell in the bedroom."
The 83-year-old Danos has spent the last eleven years in the Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) program. The program is a collaborative effort between the Veteran, family caregivers and a team of healthcare professionals who work together to care for those patients whose care cannot be conducted at a VA medical facility.
"I can’t believe all the help I get," said Danos. "Someone comes twice a day- once in the morning and in the afternoon- to help. They have done so much for me and I am grateful there is a VA there to provide these services."
Mr. Danos' interdisciplinary team includes visits from a nurse practitioner, nurses, social workers, and contracted personnel who assist with other specific needs. Unable to move independently, the in-home assistance makes it possible for his wife, Patricia, to care for him herself.
"It is a blessing for sure," said Mrs. Danos. "At my age it is difficult to care for George. If I didn’t get this help I don’t think we could have made it the past ten years. The VA’s assistance is wonderful."
Mr. and Mrs. Danos also take advantage of the VA's respite program. They are able to receive up to 31 days of care at VA Butler Healthcare, which allows for Mr. Danos to spend some time with other Veterans. Patricia is able to use that time to care for her own emotional and physical health needs.
"It is like a vacation for both of us," mused Mrs. Danos who, in addition to caring for her husband, also cares for her mother. "George just loves it down there."
To be eligible for Home Based Primary Care, you must first be enrolled in the VA healthcare system, which can be determined at http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/. In addition, it must be determined by the HBPC team that the home is the most appropriate venue for care.