Unpaid family caregivers are the country’s largest source of long-term care services, and those caring for an ill or injured Veteran face unique challenges in supporting reentry into civilian life. A recent RAND study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation found that many of the 5.5 million Americans caring for ill or wounded Service Members, especially the 1.1 million who are caring for post-9/11 Veterans, have significant gaps in support. Compared to other Veteran caregivers and civilian caregivers, those caring for post-9/11 Service Members are significantly younger, more likely to juggle their caregiving responsibilities with a full- or part-time job, and less likely to have a support network. They are also more likely to care for someone with a behavioral health condition such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These findings prompted the Foundation to form Hidden Heroes: The National Coalition for Military Caregivers, of which Atlas Research is a member.
Atlas Research experts possess a deep understanding of the particular needs of our nation’s diverse Veteran caregiver population, informed by our background in working with caregivers and caregiver advocacy organizations across the country as well as our expertise in improving health care access among at-risk populations. Atlas is currently supporting the National Veterans Caregiver Training Program (NVCTP), helping Veteran caregivers gain skill sets in areas such as direct care, behavior management, health and wellness, technology, communication and problem solving, and stress management through in-person and online training programs. Since NVCTP began in 2011, Atlas and contract partner organizations have trained and certified more than 36,000 caregivers through a curriculum for post-9/11 Veterans and more than 4,250 caregivers through an additional curriculum for Veterans of all eras.
In addition to developing the curriculum for NVCTP, Atlas has also developed courses for the Uniformed Services Organization (USO) designed for the caregivers of Recovering Service Members (RSM). Similar to the NVCTP curriculum, the USO curriculum addresses caregiver self-care, stress management, and behavioral health needs.