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Support for Wounded Service Members and Their Families
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This is a chapter from the Family Caregiver Curriculum, Module 4: Navigating Services and Benefits.
During treatment and recovery, your family member will have one or more Points of Contact (POC). The POCs will support you and your family during this difficult time.
This chapter is about other sources of support for your family member and you.
Many military treatment facilities have Family Assistance Centers. Families can seek help from the post or base chaplains, social workers, and the family center:
- Airman and Family Readiness Centers
- Army Community Services
- Army’s MEDCOM Ombudsman Program and the Soldier Family Assistance Centers
- Marine Corps Community Services
- Navy Fleet and Family Support Center
- Coast Guard Work Life Offices
This is Chapter 3 from Module 4: "Navigating Services and Benefits" of Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans. To see the whole guide, click here.
Where Can I Find Support if My Family Member is in the Air Force?
Patient Squadron Program
The Patient Squadron Program is for any airman receiving medical care or hospitalization for moderate to severe injuries or illness lasting around 90 days or more.
The injured airman is assigned to the nearest MTF that can treat his or her injuries. The assignment can be temporary (TDY) or permanent (PCS).
- medical care not to exceed 90 days
- a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) review is not expected.
- medical care lasting more than 90 days
- a MEB is more likely. (See Chapter 12 to learn about the MEB.)
The assigned MTF provides case management.
Reserve Component Airmen
Reserve Component (RC) members do not participate in the Patient Squadron program. RC airmen with approved Line of Duty injury or illness are hospitalized at the nearest MTF.
They are placed on limited duty status while they receive outpatient care.
They may also be placed on convalescent leave status and recuperate at home.
The MTF is responsible for starting the MEB process for RC Airmen.
Family Liaison Officers (FLO) help connect family members with the Air Force. They provide assistance, support, and non-medical services. FLOs stay involved as long as the family wishes.
Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program
The Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program provides non-medical case management for airmen with:
- combat or hostile-related injury or illness that requires long-term care
- a Medical Evaluation Board or Physical Evaluation Board to determine fitness for duty.
Assistance for Air Force Families
Airman and Family Readiness Centers offer resources for the airman and his/her family.
For immediate, 24-hour response, call 877-872-3435 or you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where Can I Find Support if My Family Member is in the Army?
Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2)
AW2 serves the most severely injured service members. It serves active duty, Reserve, or National Guard who were injured after September 10, 2001 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF).
AW2 members have received or expect to receive a 30 percent rating for one or more injuries from the Disability Evaluation System (see Chapter 12).
This program offers support and advice to its members and their families. Service begins during treatment and continues until the service member/ veteran returns to active duty or a civilian community.
AW2 helps you and your family member learn about federal, state, and private benefit systems. It links you and your family member to financial, educational, employment, legal, and medical resources.
“The Army person from the AW2… oh my gosh, she’s great. She’s just wonderful. Now that she’s on board, I get e-mails from her. She does e-mails almost daily about job fairs. But she called me and said, ‘Hey, Congress just passed this thing and Jason should be able to get some kind of compensation from the Army, because they passed something about retirement or whatever.’ If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even have realized what was on his DD-214. They put him down as honorable discharge instead of medical retirement. We are fixing that now.”
- Pam E., caregiver
The AW2 toll free number is: 1-800-237-1336. To read more, go to the Army Web site: https://www.aw2.army.mil.
Warrior Transition Unit (WTU)
A Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) is an Army Brigade, Battalion, or Company that provides care to service members who are considered to not be severely injured (approximately 29 percent or less disability rating).
WTU offers command and administrative support, primary care, and case management to its members. Soldiers are assigned a Primary Care Manager (Physician), Nurse Case Manager, and a Squad Leader to help the soldier and his or her family to heal and return to the Army or transition to civilian life.
Warriors in Transition (WT) have enhanced access to care:
- 24 hours for urgent care
- three working days for routine primary care • seven working days for all initial specialty care
- seven days for diagnostic tests
- 14 days for medically indicated non-emergency surgeries required to reach optimum medical benefit or fitness for duty status.
The Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans provides comprehensive information and resources caregivers need to care and advocate for their injured loved one and to care for themselves in the process. The Guide was developed by the Defense Health Board, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs.