Aging Veterans are facing a lack of adequate support between at home and Long-Term Care, according to a report released by the Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent.
Released in October, the report, a Continuum of Care: A Journey from Home to Long-Term Care, suggests that while the Veterans Independence Program (VIP) assists Veterans in remaining independent and self-sufficient while at home, those same Veterans are faced with limited options when remaining at home is no longer an option.
This is especially critical as there is a demographic shift in the makeup of those served by Veterans Affairs Canada.
The report also found that programs are too complex and eligibility is often based on service type rather than needs and this complexity is making it more difficult for Veterans and their family members to fully access programming.
The Veterans Ombudsman noted that Veterans Affairs Canada should create one simple “Continuum of Care” Program that covers all the needs of Veterans and their families as they age or require more care.
In total, the ombudsman has made seven recommendations.
The report is calling on the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the department personnel to remain in contact with the recipients of VIP to monitor their changing needs; eliminate inconsistencies of the program for spouses and survivors; adjust the eligibility criteria of the Caregiver Recognition Benefit; introduce additional financial support that can be used to subsidize living options for Veterans; and make general changes to the way these programs are delivered and how they are communicated about.
Parent has advised VAC to implement these changes within two years time.
“The timing is right to make these changes. The demographic shift – both in Canadian society and within VAC’s client base – has opened up a unique window of opportunity to make changes to the continuum of care for injured Veterans. Implementing my recommendations will make a positive difference by helping to ensure that ill or injured Veterans and their families receive the lifetime of care and support they need and deserve as a result of their service and sacrifice to Canada,” said Parent.
The Report is the fourth in a series on the continuum of care for Veterans. It follows three Reviews published by the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman in 2013 and 2014 on Long Term Care (LTC), the Veterans Independence Program (VIP) and Assisted Living Options.