Missouri Veterans Commission News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2020
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Veterans Commission today announces the launch of its Essential Caregiver Program at its seven Veterans Homes. The program enables Veterans to have direct contact in the homes with a designated family member to help ensure the Veterans’ health and wellbeing are provided for while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. While planned earlier, the program is also responsive to recommendations to the recent MVC Veterans Homes independent external review.
“The MVC Essential Caregiver Program allows eligible Veterans to designate a family member to assist with their care and activities,” Executive Director Paul Kirchhoff said. “In many cases it will allow the person closest to the Veteran – a spouse or child – to act as a caregiver. Our goal is to improve every aspect of our Veterans’ quality of life, including the compassionate care and personal interaction only a close relative can provide.”
The MVC Essential Caregiver Program is now in place in five of the seven MVC Veterans Homes: Cameron, Cape Girardeau, Mt. Vernon, St. James, and Warrensburg. The other Homes will begin participation as soon as COVID lowers to acceptable levels at those locations. The program is in accordance with the Long-Term Care Facility Guidelines set forth by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (see website: https://ltc.health.mo.gov/archives/14471).
“Although this program allows for personal visits with Veterans, there is required training and strict safety protocols that are taken into consideration to protect the health of all Veterans in our homes,” Kirchhoff said.
Under the terms of the MVC Essential Caregiver Program, designated caregivers must complete training, undergo COVID-19 testing, wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and comply with infection control measures during the visits.
“Nothing makes me happier than to see the look on our Veterans’ faces when they see their loved one in person for the first time during their Essential Caregiver visits,” said Brittany Ritter, administrator of the St. James Veterans Home. “It has been a long nine months for our Veterans, families, and staff, so this is wonderful to see.”
The Missouri Veterans Commission, a division of the Department of Public Safety, operates seven State Veterans Homes, five State Veterans Cemeteries, and the Veterans Services Program. The Commission is committed to honoring and serving Missouri’s Veterans whose dedication and sacrifices have preserved our nation and its freedoms. For more information about the Missouri Veterans Commission programs, call (573) 751-3779, online at http://www.mvc.dps.mo.gov, or facebook.com/MissouriVeteransCommission.