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DHA's E-Caregiver Directory Puts Resources at Your Fingertips

Image of Woman on left stretching her husband's left arm and right leg. Ida Malone helps her husband, Navy Chief Petty Officer Averill Malone, stretch before bicycling during the Navy’s training camp for Department of Defense’s Warrior Games at Ventura County Naval Station Port Hueneme in Oxnard, California. Malone is the caregiver for her husband, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The new electronic Caregiver Resource Directory, from the Defense Health Agency, provides caregivers with thousands of resources available at their fingertips. (DOD News photo by EJ Hersom)

The Defense Health Agency's electronic Caregiver Resource Directory provides more than 2,000 resources for caregivers of wounded warriors within three taps on their mobile phone, their computer, or tablet.

"When we update the NRD with new resources, they can be immediately added to the eCRD with just a check box," said Jonathan Morris, with DHA's Warrior Care Recovery Care Programs Operations, highlighting just one of its user-friendly features.

Other eCRD features include:

  • Simple searchability through navigations and links
  • No heavy scrolling
  • Single page content printing
  • Hyperlinks to each resource

"The old version was a PDF and required people to scroll up and down. If they wanted to pull a specific page, they needed to download the complete directory," Morris pointed out.

A hard copy of the Caregiver Resource Directory was launched in 2015, updated yearly, and has had more than 300,000 free copies distributed, he said.

Taking the Weight Off Relocation

There are many services and resources available to caregivers and their families if they have to relocate, so that the hand-off can go as smoothly as possible.

"There are direct links to each of the military service relocation programs that are highlighted by location," Morris said.

He added that the NRD and the eCRD connect relocating caregivers and families to "services and agencies to help them settle in and give them access to virtual support through organizations such as the American Red Cross Military and Veterans Caregiver Network."

"They can also reach out to the NRD by email at infoNRD.osd@mail.mil, and the content team will assist with finding resources" down to local community churches, Morris explained.

Self-Care and Crisis Care

Caregiving can be a 24/7/365 responsibility, and caregivers need to take care of themselves to be able to continue their roles without burning out.

For Davis, "I'm always looking at ways for rest and relaxation; this helps protect my caregiver mental health and well-being."

She's also used the Veteran Spouse Network and has participated in caregiver retreats at an equestrian therapy ranch, which has programs for wounded warriors and their families. She said these programs add to her "toolkit" of self-care.

Additionally, crises can arise, and caregivers may have an immediate need for resources. "Some caregivers need that information right now," Davis said.

For other caregivers, challenges could be "everything from mental health, to employment, to education," Davis said, adding: "Caregivers need so much, and they just never know what kind of a situation they'll be in."

Top Searches

Some of the most commonly searched resources in the eCRD and NRD include:

  • Access to health care for caregivers
  • Guides to community resources
  • Caregiver resources for family members with traumatic brain injury
  • VA specialty resources for caregivers
  • Mental health support services for children of caregivers

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