New Effort Launched to Help Veterans with Disabilities Live Independently at Home

New partnership uses participant-directed services to keep Veterans in their communities and out of nursing homes.

    • January 6, 2011

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Administration on Aging (AoA) and National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS) have launched a new partnership to help Veterans of all ages and disabilities stay out of nursing homes and live independently at home in their communities.

The NRCPDS, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantee and the only national center of its kind, helps people of all ages and disabilities get the support they need to live as independently as possible. The Center offers a range of training and technical assistance to staff at VA Medical Centers for Veterans enrolled in the Veteran Directed Home and Community-Based Services Program (VD-HCBS).

This new program allows Veterans to manage their own flexible spending budgets for their personal care services—deciding for themselves what mix of goods and services will best meet their needs, hiring and supervising their own workers, including family and friends, and purchasing items or services that will help them live more independently. This approach is known as “participant direction.”

“This program has been a godsend,” said Ida Zampella, whose husband Frank, a Veteran, who uses a wheelchair. The program, she said, has enabled Frank to live at home rather than in a nursing home, where previously his health had been declining. The Zampellas spoke at an event December 14, 2010, celebrating the VA program at the VA Medical Center in Lyons, N.J.