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Enhancing health and independent living for veterans with disabilities by leveraging community-based resources.

Hale-Gallardo J, Jia H, Delisle T, Levy CE, Osorio V, Smith JA, Hannold EM. Enhancing health and independent living for veterans with disabilities by leveraging community-based resources. Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare. 2017 Jan 20; 10:41-47.

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The number of US veterans with disabilities has increased in recent years as service members have returned home with extensive injuries and veterans from previous wars acquire functional limitations as a consequence of aging with chronic diseases. Veterans with severe disabilities need assistance and support to maintain independence at home and to avoid institutionalization. The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) strives to network with community organizations to achieve the best possible outcomes for veterans. Key community resources in the US for individuals with disabilities are Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that provide a wide range of services, promoting independent living and well-being for people across disabilities. The widespread availability and services of CILs nationwide suggest their potential as a community-based resource for veterans, particularly for those with limited access to VA care. In this article, we discuss long-term needs of veterans with disabilities, efforts to address veterans' rehabilitation needs at the VA and opportunities for leveraging the strengths of community-based organizations for veterans. More research is warranted to investigate CIL services and potential for CIL-VA partnerships.

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