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Written by: Christopher Plein, Ph.D. West Virginia University and OneOp Military Caregiving concentration.

There has probably not been another time in our lives when we have been so focused on public health our healthcare delivery system, and caregiving.   As we continue to navigate the unchartered waters of a global pandemic, it remains important for us to keep up to date on matters of immediate and continuing importance while at the same time having the ability to put things in perspective through self-care and awareness.

So much has happened since the beginning of 2020.  As the summer closes, it’s a good time to take stock of some of the resources that are available from the OneOp Military Caregiving concentration and others. The resources identified below are readily available through the links provided.

Understanding the Current Situation  

The MLFN Military Caregiving concentration has hosted recent webinars that help shed light on healthcare and caregiving in these times.  In June, the concentration provided a webinar on Medicaid and Medicare responses to the COVID-19. Both of these government programs are providing additional resources and flexibility in a time of need. Like all of our webinars, this session can be easily accessed in our archives.

Because wellness is more than just healthcare, we have also focused on family well-being in this time of uncertainty.  For example, we recently offered a webinar providing Back to School advice and tips for parents and kids at the start of the new school year.  A big take away to keep in mind is that parents and educators can work together create supportive learning environments in a time of disruption.

Ongoing Developments in Military Healthcare

The present crisis is unfolding during a time of change in the structure and delivery of military healthcare.  These changes were already underway before the pandemic and continue to unfold.  Understanding ongoing developments can help us better understand and access needed health and caregiving resources.   In January, our concentration hosted a webinar providing an overview of changes in TRICARE Benefits in 2020 and Beyond highlighting new approaches and benefits for military families.

With the complex and rapid changes that are now taking place in military health care reforms and redesign, the DoD’s Defense Health Agency maintains a website dedicated to providing information on recent and pending actions and developments.

Putting Things in Perspective  

We are living in a moment of historical change, uncertainty, and importance.  Self-care and self-awareness are crucial to maintain balance and as sense of perspective.

This is the theme that has been explored in recent blog posts on How Well are You Coping with stress and on Staying Positive in caregiving.  A webinar offered in May 2020 provided advice on how to Keep Calm and Carry On ,  highlighting the unique challenges of working with those in need during these stressful times. The increased reliance on telework and our isolation as we travel through the pandemic “alone together” places even great emphasis being able be responsive to the needs of others.  A follow up to this webinar, entitled Communication Power Moves will be offered on September 17, 2020.

There are many resources that can help us put things in perspective.  Apart from webinars, blogs, and programming offered by the MFLN, those in and around the military community continue to provide information, insight, and assistance in coping with the pandemic.  Especially useful are resources provided by the Uniformed Services University for the Study of Traumatic Stress.  Its coronavirus website offers helpful and updated information for caregivers, healthcare providers, and support personnel.

Looking Ahead

The MFLN and our Military Caregiving concentration remains active in tracking and sharing information on military and community related aspects of COVID-19.  Throughout the pandemic, our blog posts have provided information on helpful resources and DoD’s response to the crisis. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, the Military Caregiving team will continue to develop, identify, and share resources.

Stay well and safe.