Families and friends have an important role in helping patients maximize their success in rehabilitation. VA strongly encourages the involvement of families and friends throughout the rehabilitation process, but recognizes the emotional and physical stress that this involvement may have. We are dedicated to supporting families and friends and do so in three ways:
VA recognizes the financial sacrifice that families may face as they stay with their loved one through the rehabilitation process. Generous donations from VA Voluntary Services, Operation Helping Hand, Fisher House Foundation, other foundations and agencies, and local businesses frequently provide free housing and free or discounted meals. The Polytrauma point of contact or your loved one's case manager will be able to help you identify and access these resources.
Every polytrauma injury is different. It is difficult to compare injuries and it is extremely difficult to compare different patients' responses to rehabilitation. Some patients have lengthy stays in an acute, inpatient rehabilitation program and other patients receive their care through outpatient services. While some patients treated in the Polytrauma programs are able to return to Active Duty, pursue school, or return to work, others will continue to need more intense supportive services and care. All will continue to receive care and support from the VA throughout their life.
Polytrauma injuries affect the injured individual as well as the family. The Polytrauma team works closely to help families keep abreast of their loved one's medical condition as well as their progress through rehabilitation. VA staff actively engage family members in treatment decisions, including discharge planning. If the patient is discharged home, family members are invited to join therapy sessions prior to discharge so that they can learn how to help the patient be as independent as possible in the home.
Prior to discharge from a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, family members may be scheduled to stay with the patient in a family training apartment. This allows the family member to experience what the return home may be like for their loved one while rehabilitation staff and nursing are still available to answer questions, address unexpected problems, and provide the emotional support a family may need as they prepare for this new phase of rehabilitation.Emotional Support
VA recognizes the emotional stress that family members face while dealing with the realities of their loved one's life after a polytrauma injury. Our facilities offer family support, education sessions, and family counseling services to help families cope with adjustment issues following injury.