VOICES: Dayton VA focuses on “whole health” approach to support veteran needs

As Veterans Day approaches this week, I want to reintroduce the Dayton VA Medical Center (VAMC) to our community. The Dayton VAMC has been proudly serving our veterans for154 years at our historic campus. In 1867, we became one of the first three “Soldiers Home” established by President Abraham Lincoln. Our mission is to care for those who have borne the battle.

The Dayton VAMC has more than 60,000 enrolled veterans. Our veterans receive a full range of care including inpatient and outpatient care, primary care, acute care, hospice/palliative care, geriatric evaluation & management, adult daycare, respite care and specialized women’s health care. We have a four-star Community Living Center (nursing home) and four Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Springfield, Middletown, Lima and Richmond, IN. Our vision is to be recognized as the health care provider of choice for veterans. We are using technology to make it more convenient for veterans to see their doctor, schedule their own appointments and order prescription refills. I encourage veterans to sign up for My HealtheVet to help manage their own health care. Sign up at www.myhealth.va.gov.

We continue to fight the battle with COVID and have given out more than 30,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans around the Miami Valley, whether they are enrolled or not at the Dayton VAMC. We’ve vaccinated their spouses and caregivers as well. On Saturday, Oct. 30, we opened our clinic for the booster shot. That day alone we gave out 541 boosters to veterans, spouses and caregivers. During the pandemic, we leveraged technology to successfully ensure our veterans had access to our health care system by providing virtual appointments and continued to provide in-house health care.

We also offer high quality mental health care. For example, the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan left many veterans anxious and concerned. The Dayton VAMC immediately stepped up to help our veterans dealing with the stress, including offering group and individual counseling. We also offer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment, substance abuse treatment, suicide prevention and inpatient psychiatric treatment. We offer recreation therapy which has helped many Veterans dealing with depression.

I firmly believe in using a whole health approach. At the Dayton VAMC, our Whole Health program supports the mental, physical and inner well-being. We focus on self-care and offer the skills and support veterans need to make the changes they want. Yoga, tai chi, meditation, plus nutrition, cooking classes and weight management classes are available and through our many apps. With our whole health approach, we realize the Dayton VAMC is more than just a hospital. We invite non-enrolled Veterans and the community to learn more about our healing place.

If you know veteran, engage with him or her. If they don’t have health care or adequate health care, guide them toward the Dayton VAMC. Veterans may qualify for VA benefits but aren’t aware or don’t know where to start. We can help with the application process. Reach out to us at 937-268-6511 ext. 2195 or 2035.

Veterans, we care about your health and we value and honor you on Veterans Day and every day. Thank you for your service.

Mark Murdock is the Director of the Dayton VA.

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