Purple Heart Family Support™ Recovery
How do I get to my wounded servicemember? Who funds my travel?
For very seriously injured/ill (VSI) or seriously injured/ill (SI) patients, the primary next of kin (PNOK) can be issued Invitational Travel Orders (ITOs) if the attending physician determines it is essential to the recovery of the patient and it is verified by the hospital commander. The Services can provide transportation for up to three family members when a servicemember is classified as Very Seriously Ill/Injured (VSI) or Seriously Ill/Injured (SI), as determined by the attending physician and hospital commander upon injury. ITOs will be offered to immediate family members (spouse, children, mother, father, siblings (including step) OR those acting in loco parentis. The Service point of contact/notifier or hospital will provide information concerning travel regulations. Transportation and lodging is provided for up to three family members in two week increments. Wounded servicemembers cases are evaluated every two weeks and at the discretion of the attending physician, family members are authorized additional time at the bedside.
Where will I stay while I am visiting my wounded servicemember?
If the family members are traveling on ITOs, the Services arrange for family member’s lodging before traveling to be with the wounded servicemember. Families are housed in local hotels, guest lodging at a military installation, or, if available, a Fisher House, which is “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes provide comfortable, temporary housing for families of servicemembers recovering from serious medical conditions. Families pay $10.00 per night to stay in a Fisher House; however, this fee is waived for families of wounded servicemembers. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or have transportation available. For more information on the Fisher Houses, go to: www.fisherhouse.org.
Is child care available for my children while I am with my wounded servicemember?
Hourly child care slots are often hard to access on military installations and so families should not assume there is child care available. Child care is not covered in the ITO reimbursement. The individual who notifies you about your servicemember’s injury can direct you to the installation child development center to help you determine if you can make child care arrangements. There may be community resources available to assist with child care. Do not forget to bring a copy of the child’s shot record as you will need this to register your child at any child care facility. Some medical facilities have Family Assistance Centers (FACs) that provide assistance to the families of wounded servicemembers once they arrive at the Medical Treatment Facility (MTF). The FACs should be able to provide child care information.
Who will work with our family during the servicemembers recovery period?
Wounded servicemembers have case managers assigned to work with them during their recovery period. The job of these individuals is to provide information and help assist the servicemember and family during the recovery period and the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) and Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) process. These individuals also provide information on Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs). As stated above, many military hospitals serving wounded or injured servicemembers also have Family Assistance Centers. Families can also seek assistance from the installation chaplains, social workers, and family center: Army Community Services, Marine Corps Community Services, Air Force Family Support Center, Navy Fleet and Family Support Center, and Coast Guard Work Life Offices.
What is the transition process for my servicemember?
The shift of a servicemember to medical retirement, transit on to the Department of Veterans Affairs, or separation from the military is known as Transition. DoD has a mandatory Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for all transitioning and/or separating servicemembers. You can read more about transition at https://www.gibill.va.gov/Vet_Info/ta.htm
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