Why Hines VA Hospital’s Need For a Fisher House Is So Critical
How Military Families Qualify for this Humanitarian Assistance
This humanitarian program based on the concept “A Family’s Love is Good Medicine” is supported by proof that the recovery rate is accelerated by on-site family support. That is why all Fisher Houses are built within walking distance of the medical facility.
Military families cannot afford to accompany their wounded or ailing service member who is sent to Hines VA because it is the best treatment site for their medical issues. The costs of accommodations for long periods of multiple surgeries and rehabilitation is prohibitive for these cash-strapped families.
Hines is designated as one of the VA’s national polytrauma sites. In this capacity, the medical facility serves the medical needs of 500,000 Illinois veterans every year. In addition, Hines VA Hospital draws patients from 16 surrounding states: Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming plus parts of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
HOW MILITARY FAMILIES QUALIFY FOR THIS HUMANITARIAN PROGRAM
Criteria established by Hines VA Hospital allow for veterans’ families who live more than 50 miles from Hines Fisher House to access this humanitarian aid with a social worker referral. For Veterans to stay at the Fisher House, they must be accompanied by a family member/caregiver. Please contact your social worker or the Fisher House for more information and other qualifying factors. This benefit is completely free of charge with the help of Friends of Fisher House-Illinois.
To date, Hines VA Fisher House has hosted 13,000 military families (26,000 individuals) during medical crises.
Both the Hines Spinal Cord Injury and Blind Rehabilitation Center programs minister to almost 900 Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom veterans with long stays. These two Centers, alone, draw patients from a total of 17 states: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming plus parts of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
Hines VA is treating younger veterans returning from Iraq with multiple trauma injuries like traumatic brain injuries. This requires more patients traveling longer distances. These complicated injuries require longer hospital stays. This makes the Fisher House on Hines VA Hospital grounds that much more important.
The Hines Blind Center serves patients from a 14-state area.
“The Hines Blind Center serves approximately 250 patients every year who are not from Illinois,” said Jerry Schutter, Chief of the BRC. “We are proud to serve veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the older veterans who come to us from all over the country. The Fisher House is tremendous assistance to our patients and their families from out of state and within Illinois.”
The Hines Spinal Cord Injury Center draws patients from a seven-state area, serving 500 outpatients a year and hundreds of inpatients.
“Spinal Cord Injury patients can be hospitalized for longer periods of time, because of the nature of their injuries,” said chief of the Hines SCI Unit. “Having a Fisher House on our campus helps alleviate the impact of these long hospitalizations on the families and the veterans. Having family close by makes a big difference to patients and how quickly they recover from their injuries.”
In addition, Hines VA Hospital continues to service the medical needs of veterans from Illinois and other states with 536,600 outpatient visits a year.