There are times I am amazed by what happens at the VA. It is not surprising the suicide rate among veterans when you consider the mental health treatment and poor customer service and people skills of some VA staff members.
My husband is now on his 3rd doctor for Mental Health and Medication Management. The first doctor got sick and has now stopped seeing patients all together. The second doctor has now transferred to the Domiciliary Care Unit. Our third and current doctor seems to actually listen, for now.
There is such inconsistency within the Mental Health Department with one notable exception, medications. There is a constant desire to change medications. My husband spent an entire week sleeping 20-22 hours with one medication he was placed on. That is not acceptable to our family.
I have tried to have my husband go in for ‘therapy’ and was told that group therapy was our only option. Unfortunately my husband will not sit in a room with a bunch of other PTSD veterans sharing their war stories, he has enough of his own baggage, he doesn't want to add to them.
As for our Poly-trauma care…there is no care at all. The first ‘exam’ my husband was asked to walk a straight line, squeeze her fingers, and touch his nose. That was the whole exam. The second exam, that I had to really push for, was almost as much of a waste of time as the first exam, but we were there for 90 minutes.
In that 90 minutes time frame we were told there were no residual effects of TBI. The headaches my husband has suffered for the last 8-9 years following his head injury in country during deployment, are due to sleep apnea. The cognitive issues that I have noticed in my husband since his return from deployment have nothing to do with a potential TBI, medication can cause these issues regardless of the fact that the issues began before the medications started.
I am completely bothered by the fact that there is no serious treatment plan for veterans returning from deployments with invisible wounds. We have had to fight, and fight hard, for some of the treatment we are finally getting. The lack of consistency across the country is amazing.
Now for some positive points. Our VA has a child care facility on site for veterans to use while attending appointments. With so many young veterans this is VITAL for all VAMCs.
Our VA also has great Caregiver Support Coordinators who really want to help. They have helped us get the bathroom safety equipment that is necessary for my husband. The Caregiver Program is another program that is not the same across the country.
My husband is rated 100% T&P for PTSD. I cannot leave him alone, it is not safe. The Caregiver Program has allowed me to take care of my husband, keep him safe, and take him to appointments, without the worry of what I might come home to. This is a positive program for the VA.
To learn more about the State of Heroes and Families project, please visit our main site or visit any of the following direct project links -
Why This Started: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-why.html
The Statistics: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-statistics.html
Our Stories: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-stories.html
What We Hope For: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-hopes.html
FAQ About the Project: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-faq.html