Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center is looking for “special people” for a “major commitment.”
The medical center is gearing up a program called Medical Foster Home, which allows eligible veterans to live in a family setting instead of a nursing home, said Susie Kent, the program’s coordinator.
“It’s a tremendous commitment” for the caregivers, Kent said. “It is 24-hour care that they need to provide.
“They do get compensated for it, but to be honest, it’s not a huge amount of money. So, it has to be people that really want to commit to that level of care — and it takes a very loving person that really wants to do this.”
The program was started in Little Rock, Ark., about 12 years ago by a man who didn’t like the idea of veterans going to nursing homes when they could be with a family instead.
Kent said MFH has expanded to 38 states, and eight more are beginning programs.
Muskogee’s VA Medical Center tried to start the program a couple of years ago, Kent said, but restrictions from the government forced it to the wayside.
With the passage of new legislation, the program can begin. It allows people to care for up to three veterans in their home at a time.
However, training is required, including CPR and first aid.
The VA Medical Center does help with the training, Kent said.
Payment for the services is settled between the veteran and the caregiver. The VA Medical Center suggests that veterans pay between $1,500 and $3,000 a month, depending on the level of care they need, Kent said.
A typical nursing home fee is about $4,000 to $5,000 a month, she said.
Some veterans may qualify for their MFH care to be paid through additional VA benefits.
Kent said the VA Medical Center hopes to find people willing to commit and who have some kind of experience caring for others.
“Maybe caring for a relative or a spouse, or they are people who do home health, maybe worked in a nursing home so they know what they are getting into,” she said. “They have to physically be able to care for the veteran.”
Caregivers’ homes also have to meet specific standards.
“We do help the people understand what’s needed — fire extinguishers and size of rooms, exits and so forth,” Kent said.
For more information about the MFH program or to find out whether a veteran is entitled to additional VA benefits that will help pay for a MFH, call Kent at (918) 628-2723.
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or email@example.com.
You can help
To become a Medical Foster Home caregiver, or to find out if a veteran is entitled to additional VA benefits that will help pay for a MFH, call Susie Kent, MFH coordinator, at (918) 628-2723.