VA hospital house calls: providing food, water, someone to talk to

Local News

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC (Nexstar, file)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System is ensuring area veterans’ needs are met during the coronavirus pandemic, going past food and water to show them they’re not alone.

The home-based system covers primary care, behavioral and mental health services and meetings with their dietitian.

Jennifer Molleker, LSCSW, is a social worker at the Topeka VA. Molleker says it’s a great way to remind these veterans that someone cares about them and is thinking about them during a time of social isolation.

“For veterans who don’t have family, or aren’t married, don’t live with anyone, the VA is a really big social piece of their life, and so just being able to connect with their providers, as well as one another, through the recreational halls, like the events that we have, coming to appointments those kinds of things, this has been a really great way for us to reach out to them,” said Molleker.

While many veterans can speak to their providers via a video call, not every veteran has a home or access to internet. Part of creating a sense of normalcy is giving those veterans a pre-paid phone for phone calls.

The VA is also delivering food needs and other much bigger essentials.

“A veteran needed some distilled water for his O2 concentrator and so she was able to obtain that and be able to deliver that to his doorstep and he was thrilled because obviously that’s an essential part of his well being and what he needs,” said Molleker.

Molleker says they began checking up on their most at-risk veterans. In addition to appointments with their doctors, they’re making sure these veterans are getting exercise and fresh air too.

If you would like to donate phone cards or non-perishable food items to the VA, you can contact Denise Cunningham with Voluntary Services at (785) 350-4528.

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