Creating Innovative Tools to Care for Military Caregivers
There are about 5.5 million military caregivers in the U.S., all of whom have experienced or made different emotional and physical sacrifices. For many military caregivers, the need to suddenly provide intensive care for a loved one can be daunting – there's no time for advanced training and the emotional toll can be draining. That's where Blue Star Families steps in to help – providing support, training and resources.
"There are many military caregivers that don't identify as caregivers when they're not in the hospital or have unseen injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, which can be isolating," said Callie Barr, Marine Corps spouse and caregiver. "We need to recognize these caregivers and help them feel supported and understood."
One way United Health Foundation is working to recognize caregivers is through its innovative partnership with Blue Star Families to support The Blue Star Families Military Caregiver Online Interactive Program. This program is designed to increase military caregiver knowledge, skills, and confidence related to caring for wounded warriors. By enhancing social support networks and improving caregiver quality of life through new online human-centered training and interactive resources, the various needs of military caregivers who live in remote locations or are unable to attend a classroom setting can be met. Using avatars to create simulations and care scenarios, the program engages military caregivers and helps them to effectively problem-solve and address real-life care challenges.
In recognition of this partnership, Blue Star Families honored United Health Foundation with the Constance J. Milstein Award for Philanthropy. The Constance J. Milstein Award recognizes groundbreaking philanthropy that pushes the envelope of creativity and risk-taking to create a profoundly positive impact on military families. "We are so proud to give the award to United Health Foundation. United Health Foundation does risky, innovative work. They invest in community, they invest in caregivers, they invest in the information that makes a difference in people's lives. We salute them for that," said Kathy Roth-Duquet, founder and CEO, Blue Star Families.
Find out more about how UnitedHealth Group supports service members, veterans and their families through other partnerships and programs.