The Department of Veterans Affairs has teamed up with the nonprofit group Help Heal Veterans to help create quarantine kits for vets who are confined to their residences as a result of a positive COVID-19 test.
The program provides all the items needed to make the quarantine kits, which contain things to keep veterans who are in isolation in their homes, health care centers or long-term care centers occupied. The VA and Help Heal Veterans provide the supplies to local organizations and volunteers, who then assemble and distribute the kits as needed.
The kits contain reading and educational materials, craft supplies, and materials that can be used to help veterans create their own face masks. The kits also have information about local resources and organizations that can provide assistance to veterans dealing with the anxiety, stress and boredom many encounter as a result of prolonged isolation or quarantine.
Most medical experts recommend that those who test positive for COVID-19 self-quarantine for at least 14 days to prevent the unintentional spread of the virus.
Currently, 10 VA locations are participating in the pilot program:
- Golden, Colorado
- Bay Pines, Florida
- Iron Mountain, Michigan
- Coatesville, Pennsylvania
- Erie, Pennsylvania
- Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Canandaigua, New York
- Fayetteville, North Carolina
- Charleston, South Carolina
Depending on need and availability of resources, more locations may be added in the future.
As part of the joint program, kits are also being shared with local VA facilities, veterans' service organizations, VA Community Living Centers and nursing homes. Other VA programs -- such as home caregiver programs, medical foster homes, home-based primary care and mental health programs -- are also being given kits to share with participants.
As anyone who has been laid up in a hospital or at home for an extended period of time knows, boredom is often harder to deal with than the injury or illness. These kits are designed to provide recipients with several hours of activities and projects to engage and interest them.
"This craft kits pilot program has been a lifesaver both for our inpatient veterans as well as those in the community, particularly as we have had to suspend those recreational activities from outside organizations during COVID-19," said Dr. Sabrina Clark, director of VA Voluntary Service. "Help Heal Vets has provided isolated veterans productive activities through therapeutic arts and crafts."
More than 140,000 free craft kits have been distributed since the beginning of the pandemic.
Crafting can provide therapeutic and rehabilitative benefits, including improving fine motor skills, cognitive functioning, memory and dexterity, and can help alleviate feelings of anger and the severity of negative behaviors triggered by those suffering from challenges such as PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
To learn more about Help Heal Veterans and the organization's COVID-19 efforts, as well as find out how you can help, visit Help Heal Veterans.
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