Monday, June 30, 2008

U.S. Take Notice: Canadian disabled veterans' families feel strain on finances, health

In America, we have a health care problem. Many don’t have insurance, and those that do are either getting turned down for care or are getting priced out completely. Now, add to that, care for an injured returning veteran, besides promised medical coverage that may take 6 months to years to receive.

Think about the time that must be taken caring for a returning soldier who needs help 24/7. In Canada, they’re already seeing a mounting problem.

CBC News- People who care for Canada's disabled veterans often face overwhelming demands and financial pressures, according to a study titled Wounded Veterans, Wounded Families, prepared for Veterans Canada. The study indicates the families of Canadian soldiers between 25 and 65 released from active duty with severe disabilities suffer long-term financial burdens, as well as high rate of emotional stress and health issues.

Almost 40 per cent of spouses had been providing support to their disabled partners for between 10 and 19 years, while another 24 per cent had been providing support for more than 20 years, according to the study. Some 55 per cent of caregiver respondents reported spending five or more hours every day helping the veteran. More than 40 per cent reported they were earning less money and experiencing financial hardship, while several spouses spoke of the high toll of taking care of their loved one exacted on their own health, as well as the strain on their relationships with other family members.

The study quoted one respondent as saying. "It is more draining on emotions than the physical. The financial cost alone is tremendous. The non-financial cost, you can't count it.”

"These young veterans present a whole new phenomenon," said a co-author of the study. "Now we've got disabilities happening so much earlier in life. Families have to cope for 20 or more years."

The Canadian military takes good care of veterans, Keating said, but the system of having benefits flow through the disabled soldier often makes it difficult for the caregivers.The study recommends compensation and benefits flow directly to caregivers, that the focus be on the family's needs as well as those of the veteran, and that the department help with caregiving so a spouse can work outside the home.

As you can see, if you were to add the additional cost of supplemental medical bills, loss of income and personal health problems, the future might look pretty bleak for effected families in the U.S.

I’m getting the feeling that this story might not garner the same attention in U.S. as it has in Canada. If you really support the troops, instead of using the topic to win votes, pass this story along.

1 comment:

  1. It's an utopy, to believe there will be once health care system able to provide hi-tech care for everybody. Even here it's not such a dreamland, as I sometimes read on US blogs. Our system is overcrowded, our hospitals are overcrowded, our day-care homes, nursing homes...Usually you are not able to protect yourself with optional insurance, everything is covered(?) by goverment. However, we have at least possibility of disability insurance in Canada, if nothing else. It can't save your health, but can help you with finances at least. Pitty you can't do the same here with health insurance...
    Take care!