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James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital - Tampa, Florida


Matthew Robinson Comes Home

Matthew Robinson and his mother

Matthew Robinson and his mother

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It’s easy to forget that caregivers have the same need as the loved ones they assist: support. Sometimes support means more than bath visits, homemaker or respite services, or a pat on the back.

In response to this need, the Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services Program was implemented in September 2010. The program allows Veterans and/or their caregivers to make decisions about the services they feel are necessary to maintain the Veteran in his or her home environment.

Services include providing a monthly budget for the Veteran. A spending plan is developed with the help of a consultant from the Area Agency on Agency (AAA), with whom the VA has developed a partnership. While enrolled in this program, the Veteran is case managed by AAA as well as the VA.

In October of this year, Matthew became one of the first Veterans selected to enroll in this program.

A marine Veteran of the Persian Gulf War, the 36-year-old sustained multiple injuries after a motor vehicle accident in June 2005, including a traumatic brain injury. After the accident, he was in a coma for some time his mother struggled to help her son’s recovery.

Matthew received rehabilitation treatment in Alabama before his family moved him to Florida, where he received additional rehabilitation at the Florida Institute for Neuro-Rehabilitation (FINR). When maximum benefits were achieved, he was discharged to a community nursing home in Tampa.

In 2008, the young Veteran came to the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, for inpatient TBI Rehabilitation. When he was discharged he returned to the community nursing home, and his mother visited him twice daily every day, before and after work, while maintaining her full-time job.

Still Matthew’s mother felt, he would benefit from additional therapies and equipment in the nursing home and was constantly advocating for him. She also believed, he would make better progress, if he were able to be at home. She expressed her wish to the Tampa VA Polytrauma Case Manager, who provides ongoing follow-up for his care, but—again—she did not have the financial support to make this happen.

That all changed in October 2010. Thanks to the Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services Program, the family now has the resources in place to make her wish come true.

Matthew was subsequently discharged from the community nursing home to the care of his mother. She has made arrangements for his care in her absence and she is able to help him at night. It took five years, but Matthew Robinson has finally come home.


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