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House Passage of Caregivers Bill Brings Hope to Wounded Warriors

Thursday, April 22, 2010 General News J E 4
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Families who care for veterans now await senate action

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the House of Representatives' 419-0 passage today of legislation to provide financial and other assistance to caregivers of veterans severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ed Edmundson may at last have an answer to the question of how he'll be able to continue to care for his brain-injured son, Eric.  

Following Eric's injury in 2005, Edmundson gave up his job and depleted his savings so that he could provide Eric round-the-clock care.  Like many other parents and spouses of severely wounded servicemembers, the Edmundsons refused the nursing home care option VA proposed.    

Providing virtually round the clock care can take a severe toll on the caregiver – physically, emotionally, and financially.  The absence of a coordinated support program for these families heightens the risk that these vulnerable caregiving arrangements could collapse -- putting these veterans' well-being in jeopardy or resulting in institutionalization.

House passage today of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act  -- which now awaits Senate action – offers hope for the Edmundsons and other families.  The House-passed caregiver legislation, similar to a measure the Senate approved unanimously last year, would provide VA-approved caregivers with counseling, respite care, health-coverage, and a modest financial stipend, and help avoid any need for costly institutionalization. This assistance program will help those families who are stretched to the breaking point.

"Eric won the battle for his life," Edmundson explained, "but he faces a new battle every day as he works to regain the ability to walk, talk, eat and drink.   This legislation will help us enormously in providing Eric the care he needs to keep making progress."

"Wounded warriors and their families can now have a greater sense of hope and security when it comes to their future," stated Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Executive Director Steve Nardizzi. "This measure, which we've supported and advocated for, will provide much needed assistance to family members who make enormous sacrifices to provide care to their severely injured loved ones in their homes and communities."

The establishment of a strong caregiver assistance program was Wounded Warrior Project's highest legislative priority of both 2009 and 2010.

The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act was supported by a broad coalition of veterans and military service organizations and WWP was proud to work with groups like Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), National Military Families Association (NMFA) and Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) on bringing awareness to the need for passage.

Available for Interviews:

Steve Nardizzi, Executive Director, Wounded Warrior Project

Ed Edmundson and other family caregivers directly affected by the bill

About Wounded Warrior Project

The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower wounded warriors.  Its purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service members, to help severely injured men and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. To get involved and learn more, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project

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