The Brain Injury Association of America submitted formal testimony at a hearing held this week by the House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee. The hearing was held on Tuesday, September 9, and focused on several pieces of legislation, including H.R. 3051, The Heroes At Home Act of 2007, which BIAA has strongly endorsed. This important legislation, introduced by Rep. John Salazar (D-CO), would authorize the creation of a program within the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide training, certification and compensation to family caregivers acting as personal care attendants for returning servicemembers with severe TBI. BIAA submitted testimony in strong support of this bill, describing the importance of providing much-needed supports to family caregivers of individuals with brain injury.
BIAA's testimony stated, "Family care is the most important source of assistance for people with chronic or disabling conditions, including people with brain injury. Yet, research has found that all too often, the traumatic brain injury of a spouse or close relative places extreme stress on family caregivers, frequently resulting in negative physical and emotional outcomes for the caregivers themselves. Unfortunately, despite these documented physical hardships and psychological stress, family caregivers receive little support."
BIAA also continues to support similar legislation in the Senate, The Caring for Wounded Warriors Act (S. 2921), which was introduced earlier this year by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). This bill would authorize a pilot program within the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide training, certification and compensation to family caregivers acting as personal care attendants for returning servicemembers with severe TBI. The Caring for Wounded Warriors Act would also authorize a pilot program to leverage existing partnerships between Veterans Affairs facilities and the nation's premier universities, training graduate students to provide respite care for families caring for wounded warriors with TBI.