Better Services at Reduced Costs Through an Improved 'Personal Care' Program Recommended for Veterans

HRD-78-107: Published: Jun 6, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 1978.

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As part of outpatient care for veterans, the Veterans Administration (VA) operates a community care program in which veterans live in residences other than their own under VA supervision. Within this program, the personal care residence (PCR) program functions as an alternative to long-term institutionalization of psychiatric, medical, and surgical patients. In PCR, or foster home, a sponsor provides or arranges for personal care functions, and the veteran pays for his living arrangements. In fiscal year 1977, about 20,000 veterans lived in such homes.

The concept of the personal care program is practicable. The medical and psychiatric conditions of veterans improve after placement in PCR's, and costs of such care are reduced. Thousands of veterans in VA facilities could be cared for in PCR's, but remain in the other facilities because of such factors as insufficient funds, lack of suitable community facilities, patient or family resistance to the VA out-placement efforts, and lack of a formal personal care program. VA made some progress toward use of the program, but more needs to be done to expand its use and ensure adequate services and facilities for veterans in PCR's. Ineffective program management at the VA central office and at the hospitals have resulted in some programs which do not assure that suitable veterans are placed in homes and that adequate services and facilities are provided.

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