Posted in Veterans News

Patients Re-Learn Basic Living Skills at VA’s MyHome — Veterans Health Administration

Laurel Koval, an occupational therapist at the Pittsburgh VA, gives Veteran Gloria Stephenson clothes washing tips in MyHome’s laundry room. Photo by William George, Pittsburgh VA Medical Center

by Tom Cramer, VA Staff Writer

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The folks at the VA Medical Center in Pittsburgh have figured out a unique way to help wounded Veterans transition successfully from their hospital bed to their own bed at home — something that’s not so easy when you’re visually impaired, in a wheelchair or using a walker to get around.

“We call it ‘MyHome,’ said Laurel Koval, an occupational therapist at the medical center. “It’s where we enable Veterans to feel more confident in performing daily tasks and thus more ready to go home.”

Fasten Your Seatbelt

Koval said MyHome, located within the Pittsburgh VA’s H.J. Heinz Campus in O’Hara, Pa., contains a living room, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, staircase, a laundry area and a pantry stocked with food.

“We even have a garage with a car parked it,” she said. “Our physical and occupational therapists can teach you how to get in and out of your car safely, fasten your seatbelt or how to unload your…

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Third Female Marine Now in Selection to Become MARSOC Raider

Another female candidate has quietly made it through most of the first phase of the assessment and selection process of Marine Corps Special Operations Command in a quest to become the first female MARSOC Raider.

A 25-year-old female sergeant has almost completed the 21-day first phase of A&S after beginning the course Jan. 16, MARSOC spokesman Maj. Nicholas Mannweiler confirmed to Military.com.

The sergeant, who comes from the food specialist military occupational specialty, is on her first attempt through the phase.

If she makes it to the end of the course, which wraps up the week of Feb. 5, with a high enough aggregate academic and physical training score, she will be the first woman to enter the challenging and secretive second phase of MARSOC assessment and selection.

But that is not a given. Mannweiler said it’s expected that a number of candidates will leave the selection pipeline at the phase’s conclusion with insufficient scores.

If she does make it through, the second phase of A&S is set to begin Feb. 10.

To date, one other woman has made it to the end of the first phase of A&S: a corporal from an administrative MOS, whose identity has not been made public to…

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Being Prepared is Smart — Veterans Health Administration

Do you have enough medication if your current supply ran out?

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Veterans Receiving Health Care Need to be Prepared

Is your family prepared for hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados or floods?

If you’re a Veteran receiving VA health care, do you have enough medication if your current supply ran out and you couldn’t get to the drug store or your VA medical center?

September 2013 marks the tenth annual National Preparedness Month. VA and FEMA want to help you be ready…for anything and everything.

There are great checklists online at Ready.gov. Many Veterans have found that their kids and grandkids love having this as a project, for school or just for your family.

Start with this important checklist

In addition to your prescription medicines:

  • Have you stocked up on other expendable health supplies?
  • Do you have a backup plan for those who need care?
  • Did you remember to keep a list of medications and other important health documents ready to go?
  • Do you have emergency phone numbers at the ready? Doctor? VA hospital? Ambulance?
  • Have you stocked up on plenty of food and water?

Emergency preparedness is no longer the sole concern…

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DoD, U.N. Hold Inaugural Training for Peacekeeping Investigators > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article



WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2018 —

The Defense Department and the United Nations held an inaugural training course for national investigative officers for U.N. peacekeeping operations, aimed at holding peacekeepers accountable for abuses such as sexual misconduct and preventing further crimes.

More than two dozen participants from 11 African nations took part in the course held in Entebbe, Uganda, Jan. 15-24, said Mark Swayne, the acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability and humanitarian affairs.

The course is a fulfillment of a U.S. pledge at the 2016 U.N. Defense Ministerial on U.N. Peacekeeping in London to support the U.N. and partner troop contributing countries to address conduct and discipline requirements in peace operations, Swayne said.

The course provided training on how peacekeepers should address sexual exploitation and abuse allegations, he said, adding the oversight will result in greater accountability for individuals and units responsible for abuses.

“Ultimately, this should lead to a decrease in these incidents, which not only severely harm the people and communities peacekeepers are charged with protecting but also…

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Social worker helps make Veteran’s final dream come true

As a little girl, she dreamt of Hawaii as she paged through her parents’ photo albums and heard the story of how they first met. As a woman, she day dreamt of sandy beaches and a tropical paradise as her plane flew over Oahu en route to Taiwan. But, at age 60, Rebecca Golden was diagnosed with lung cancer and given a prognosis of less than 12 months to live. Her dream appeared as if it would only be that: a dream.

With the help of one of Phoenix VA’s many unsung heroes, Golden, a seven-year U.S. Air Force Veteran, would realize her dream.

Lisa Terry, an oncology social worker, approached Golden about the Dream Foundation’s “Dreams for Veterans” program.

“They are a wish-granting foundation for adults with terminal illness, and have a special program for Veterans to grant them an end of life wish,” Terry said. “It’s a wonderful program that provides a lot of hope and inspiration for Veterans at the most difficult time in their life.”

Golden became the third Veteran Terry helped to realize a lifelong dream. Terry volunteered for a national training certification so she could help Veterans with the foundation’s application process, but she said any VA social worker…

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The United Nations Command (Rear) Change of Command > U.S. Pacific Command > 2015

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Royal Australian Air Force Group Captain Adam Williams assumed command of United Nations Command Rear, from Royal Australian Air Force Group Captain Michael W. Jansen during a change of command ceremony at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Jan. 29.

The reviewing officer of the ceremony was U.S. Army General Vincent K. Brooks, commander of United Nations Command (UNC), Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.

“I want to thank the representatives of various counties who are here today. This is an important expression of what it is that UNC stands for, and what the UNC Rear command has done. We have representatives from: Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Thailand, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Philippines, United Kingdom, and United States. I think it says an awful lot about the importance of this organization.” Brooks said during the ceremony.

Also Gen. Brooks talked about his vision as the UNC commander.

“One of my priorities as the UNC commander has been to keep the UNC vital and relevant. In fact to make it more vital and more relevant. UNC (Rear), under Group Captain Jensen has been at the forefront of meeting this priority.”

Under RAAF Group Captain…

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Electronic Medical Records Hold Clues to Suicide Risk — Veterans Health Administration

LeAnn Shipp, a nurse at the San Diego VA Medical Center, is using VA’s electronic medical record. VA researchers are studying how to best use the records to boost suicide prevention. Photo by Kevin Walsh

by Mitch Mirkin, Senior Editor/Writer, VA Research Communications

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Natural language processing — part of the technology that makes Google work — could help VA detect suicide risk among Veterans.

That’s the idea behind ongoing research at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington, along with other VA sites.

One study used the technology to find past suicide attempts in VA’s electronic medical record system. Past attempts are the most compelling sign of future risk, say researchers — about twice as strong as the next-best predictor, major depression. Studies show that a past suicide attempt raises the odds of an eventual completed suicide by 40 times.

“The electronic medical record system stores a very large body of clinical notes,” explains Ken Hammond, MD. “We’ve shown that we can use search engine technology to more easily identify those Veterans who have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. That can…

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Army Medics Conduct Field Training in Germany > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


By Army Spc. Dustin D. Biven, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment



JOINT MULTINATIONAL READINESS CENTER, Hohenfels, Germany, Jan. 31, 2018 —

When people are ill or injured, they typically go to their local doctor for care or treatment. However, when soldiers are ill or injured in a combat environment, they depend on the healing hands of their combat medics.

In the hills surrounding this 40,000 acre training area, soldiers faced an environment that simulated what combat could be like during the ongoing Allied Spirit VIII training exercise.

About 4,100 participants from 10 nations are taking part in the exercise, which runs Jan. 15-Feb. 5. Nearly 2,420 participants will come from the United States and approximately 1,680 participants were expected to participate from allied and partner nations of Albania, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom.

In this exercise, Poland’s 12th Mechanized Brigade will command the multinational brigade headquarters. The Allied Spirit series rotates countries as the brigade headquarters leading the exercise, so all participating countries gain experience in working together in and…

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A Day With Cha’lee: What Drove This Navy Comedian to Standup

By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

When civilians think of the military, they often think of a serious soldier, sailor, Marine or airman who’s stoic all day, every day. But just like anyone else, service members like to kick back when they’re off duty. They have families, hobbies, and oftentimes, big personalities with lots of jokes attached.

There’s no better example of this than Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Cha’lee Adams Jr., the self-proclaimed “Facebook dude” who makes military-related videos that have gone viral on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and yes, of course, Facebook.

He’s gained quite the following over the years – a feat that often comes with fans and haters. So a few years ago, when some of his less-enthusiastic viewers commented that the comedy he did online couldn’t compare to standup, he took that as a challenge.

He’s been working on his standup routine ever since. When we caught up with Cha’lee in Key West, Florida, he was the featured comedian at a place called the Blue Room.

Cha’lee Jr. is stationed in Key West, Florida.

“If you want to get better as a comedian, you have to hit the stage every time you get a chance,” he said. “It’s all about…

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Injured Veterans Benefit from Summer Sports — Veterans Health Administration

Rehabilitation events allow Veterans to reach their full potential.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Monday, September 16, 2013

It’s called kayak football and it may never make it to prime time but for dozens of injured Veterans, it brought out an energy and spirit that that not only strengthened their bodies but helped to improve their confidence and self worth.

Kayak football is just one of the activities of VA’s Summer Sports Clinic underway this week in San Diego, Calif.

The unique sport involved the Veterans’ families and coaches, who were cheering loudly from the dock. The game tested dexterity and balance and the ability to throw a wet football while seated in a kayak.

After multiple spills into the water, all participants came out laughing, smiling and wet. One Veteran noted that, “Being here has given me the inspiration, the help and the confidence to stay committed. Being able to meet such great people…this has really had a big impact on me.”

The annual clinic offers adventure sports and recreational activities such as sailing, surfing, track and field events, kayaking and cycling (hand and tandem) to those who were recently injured.

Here’s a video of the sailing…

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