Supporting family caregivers of Veterans: Participant perceptions of a federally-mandated caregiver support program

Healthc (Amst). 2020 Sep;8(3):100441. doi: 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2020.100441. Epub 2020 Jun 22.


Objectives: To understand patients' and caregivers' experiences with and perceptions of a federally-mandated program within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that provides educational and monetary support to family caregivers of post-9/11 Veterans.

Methods: Twenty-six Veterans and their family caregivers were recruited to participate in individual and dyadic interviews. Interviews lasted between 60 and 90 min and took place between August 2016 and July 2018 in Oregon and Louisiana. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded by multiple team members. Recurrent themes and categories were identified through close examination of coded text and comparison within and across transcripts.

Results: Three main themes emerged in the data: 1) appreciation of the caregiver program for validating and compensating family caregiver work; 2) perception that some caregiving activities are less visible, and thus go unrecognized and uncompensated; 3) concern about loss of benefits.

Conclusions: Implications and policy recommendations for programs to support family caregivers, both within the VA and in the context of the broader national movement to support family caregivers, are discussed.

Keywords: Disability; Family caregiving; Qualitative; Veterans.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Louisiana
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oregon
  • Perception*
  • Program Development / methods
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / organization & administration
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / statistics & numerical data
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*