Veterans Voices: Caregivers wanted for new foster home program in Horry County

Veterans Voices

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A new Veterans Affairs foster home program looks to match veterans with care providers in Horry County.

Applications are being accepted for the Veterans Affairs’ Medical Foster Home Program. The program is already offered in Columbia and Charleston, according to VA officials, and has received great feedback from participants.

The program places veterans in the homes of qualified caregivers who can provide around-the-clock and personalized care.

“It started off to help give veterans a family environment,” said Erica Gerring, Program Coordinator with Medical Foster Home. “They get that one-on-one care; they get to be part of a family if they no longer have family around or family that are unable to care for them.”

Gerring says the program was created to give veterans that family atmosphere and was designed to help veterans who were struggling to live independently.

The Medical Foster Home program has been in existence in 42 other states since 1999.

“Veterans must have a bedroom on the first floor so that’s something that’s really important and the vetting process for the caregivers is quite extensive, we do reference checks and background checks, and we fire and safety inspect the home,” Gerring explained.

Veterans Affairs also requires caregivers to live within 50 miles of Conway, be financially stable, 21-years-old and have formal or informal experience of providing patient care. The caregiver also receives compensation.

“The compensation that is provided to the caregiver is given to the caregiver by the veteran and so that compensation varies upon the medical needs of the veteran and also the veteran’s ability to pay,” Gerring said. “We have the caregiver and the veteran meet ahead of time so they can talk, they can get to know each other a little bit.”

Each home can have up to three veterans, but each veteran must have their own room and the veteran must qualify for home base primary care services.

“If a Veteran has a ramp, the ramp will follow the veteran to the home,” Gerring stressed. “Once the Veteran’s been in the home 6 months or longer, they can apply for a one-time grant to make changes to the home.”

Gerring says the program really is a win-win for the veteran and the caregiver.

“This program is just a huge benefit to the community, to both the caregivers and the veterans and we’re looking to replicate the success that the other programs have had,” Gerring explained.

Anyone interested in being a caregiver can call 843-637-7321.

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