The Department of Defense, military services, and collaborating organizations will use November to celebrate the strength and resilience – physically, mentally, and spiritually – of our wounded, ill, and injured service members, as well as their families and caregivers; raise awareness of the warrior care resources and programs available today; and inspire year-round discourse regarding today’s warrior care priorities.
On Nov. 5, 2008, then Secretary of Defense Robert F. Gates established November as Warrior Care Month as a “DoD-wide effort aimed at increasing awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured service members, their families, and those who care about them.”
Secretary Gates charged the DOD to “continue to make it easier for our troops and their families to take advantage of all the assistance now available to them.”
The Office of Warrior Care Policy will spearhead the MHS Warrior Care Month effort, and in coordination with Defense Health Agency and Military Services’ Warrior Care Programs, will oversee execution of the month’s activities and ensure Warrior Care Month promotions occur in a coordinated and unified fashion.
Warrior care encompasses a full spectrum of support through recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration back to duty or transition back into the community. We have seen a change in warriors due to force reductions, decreased operational deployments, and evolving service member demographics but policy, processes, and baseline capabilities must still address the diverse needs of service members and caregivers. The DOD continuously evaluates the needs of the warrior care programs to ensure an exceptional level of care is provided to the current and future population of wounded, ill, and injured service member, their families, and caregivers. For additional information on Warrior Care Month and warrior care programs and resources, please visit Warrior Care Policy's blog.
Today, there are approximately 15,000 military caregivers who are actively caring for service members, a number that we expect to hold steady for the foreseeable future. There are also more than 1 million caregivers providing support to post-September 11th veterans. The requirement to support this community is enduring. The DOD helps to support the military caregiver by facilitating PEER Forums. These forums are held in-person at 62 military installations throughout the country with virtual forums held each month for those who are unable to attend in-person. Unquestionably, the act of caregiving exacts a tremendous physical and mental toll on caregivers. Caregivers should contact their recovery team about opportunities for respite care and techniques for self-care. Primary Care Managers, Nurse Case Managers, Recovery Care Coordinators, Non-Medical Care Managers and unit leadership understand the stressors associated with being a caregiver.
TRICARE covers respite care for the primary caregiver of active duty, Guard, and Reserve service members injured in the line of duty. Some respite care is also covered through TRICARE's Extended Care Health Option. There are many programs and resources for injured service members. They can be found on the TRICARE website.
Anyone can refer an Airman into the AFW2 program; download the worksheet by clicking the button below and submit the finalized form via email.