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The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Philips Convene Hundreds to Map the Military and Veteran Caregiver Journey

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SOURCE Elizabeth Dole Foundation

Collaborative working sessions will highlight the caregiving experience and equip those who support our nation's hidden heroes with key insights; Former First Lady Laura Bush to address attendees on the value of collaboration.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Senator Elizabeth Dole, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin, and former First Lady Laura Bush are joining hundreds of military caregivers, government officials, industry, and non-profit leaders in the nation's capital today to outline, define, and highlight the journey taken by military and veteran caregivers as they adjust to life in that role. According to RAND, there are 5.5 million military caregivers in the United States providing $14 billion per year in uncompensated care to wounded, ill, and injured veterans. These hidden heroes provide support outside of the spotlight, often alone, and at the expense of their own physical, mental, and financial health. Until now, the military caregiving experience was largely anecdotal - undocumented and unmeasured. Now, under the leadership of the Foundation, the VA, Philips, and Georgetown University, and through the insight of event attendees, a comprehensive map will be developed to document the military caregiving journey and assist service providers, healthcare professionals, and advocates as they work to support the needs of all military families.

The Foundation is proud to host Former First Lady Laura Bush, who has been a steadfast champion of caregivers and their families though her work with the George W. Bush Institute. The Bush Institute, based in Dallas, Texas, includes the Military Service Initiative, which works to ensure veterans, their caregivers, and their families make successful transitions to civilian life by gaining meaningful employment and education opportunities, and overcoming the invisible wounds of war.

"In the last several years, there has been a sea change in the way we understand and respond to the unique needs of our nation's hidden heroes," said Senator Elizabeth Dole, a caregiver to her husband, Senator Bob Dole, and founder of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. "While more and more Americans are recognizing the caregivers in their communities, we still don't know enough about the day-to-day experiences and challenges they face and, as a result, we don't know where support services are going to have the most impact. By listening to caregivers and collaborating with healthcare providers, policymakers, and industry and non-profit leaders, we are closer to understanding how to better support caregivers at every phase of their journey."

Through  collaboration with a coalition of partners over several months, two representative military caregiver journey maps have been developed to explain the milestones military caregivers face along their journey. The maps share a common set of key intervention points where a wide cross-section of caregivers, healthcare providers, and others can provide timely support and services.

"At VA, our caregivers are selfless hidden heroes and we appreciate all the work they do," said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin. "We are proud to join the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as partners who understand and value the role of caregivers and the sacrifices they make day in and day out."

The convening, held at the Capital Hilton, thanks to the generosity of Hilton, will include in-depth working sessions focused on refining these journey maps, moderated by a team of experts from Philips.

"Philips shares the Elizabeth Dole Foundation's and the VA's goal of accelerating access to better care and support for our nation's military and veteran caregivers, and to do that we need to collaboratively map out the intervention points where we can most effectively engage," said Joe Robinson, Senior Vice President, Health Systems Solutions, Philips North America. "At Philips, we're committed to meeting veterans and caregivers where they are through connected care solutions, which can provide respite and peace-of-mind to caregivers and veterans."

The backbone of this effort is insight provided by the Dole Caregiver Fellows, caregivers from across the nation selected to represent the Foundation in their communities, and whose personal experiences are reflected in the map.

The journey map will be finalized and disseminated throughout 2018.

Four major initiatives in support of military and veteran caregivers will also be announced at the 2nd Annual National Convening:

  • Senator Elizabeth Dole is announcing a groundbreaking new initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs called The Campaign for Inclusive Care, which aims to integrate caregivers into their veteran's medical team by training thousands of doctors, nurses and social workers inside VA to better support caregivers throughout their journey. Supported by a philanthropic investment from USAA, this program will empower caregivers and improve their overall health and well-being, while also improving healthcare outcomes for patients and the culture for healthcare providers across the nation.
  • Secretary Shulkin is revealing plans for a Center of Excellence for Research on Veteran Caregivers, fulfilling a major goal of the Foundation, and a recommendation of the 2017 RAND research blueprint, which was commissioned by the Dole Foundation. The Center of Excellence will be a driving force for caregiver research, deepening our collective understanding of who military and veteran caregivers are and how we can best support them.
  • Senator Dole and Secretary Shulkin are announcing a collaboration to connect Hidden Heroes Cities with VA Community Veteran Engagement Boards nationwide. This initiative will be piloted in New York, Las Vegas, and Chicago beginning early 2018.
  • Immediately prior to the conference, Senator Dole and Secretary Shulkin signed a memorandum of understanding, solidifying the partnership between the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and focused on enhancing support for caregivers.

The 2nd Annual National Convening is made possible by generous support from the following partners: Philips North America, Hilton, Wounded Warrior Project, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, USAA, The Wall Street Journal, Booz Allen Hamilton, American Airlines, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Independence Fund, CareLinx, Cigna, and KPMG.

About Elizabeth Dole Foundation
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation's 5.5 million military caregivers – the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America's wounded, ill or injured veterans at home. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its support and advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities to recognize military caregivers' service and promote their well-being. Learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation at www.elizabethdolefoundation.org.

The Hidden Heroes Campaign, an initiative of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and provides a safe, secure place where caregivers can meet and access carefully vetted resources at HiddenHeroes.org. Another aspect of the Campaign, Hidden Heroes Cities, is an effort to galvanize local leaders across America to identify military caregivers in their communities and the local resources to support them. To date, 110 cities from San Antonio to New York, from Washington, DC to San Diego have signed on. Learn more about Hidden Heroes at www.hiddenheroes.org.

About Royal Philips
Royal Philips is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips' health technology portfolio generated 2016 sales of EUR 17.4 billion and employs approximately 71,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.

Media Contact:
Jeff Valliere
202-441-2894
Jeff.Valliere@curastrategies.com

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