Easterseals Washington selected as new Operation Family Caregiver site in Washington State

Published 2:00 pm Monday, November 7, 2016

AMERICUS — The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving’s (RCI) signature military caregiver program, Operation Family Caregiver, has announced that Easterseals Washington will operate its new site in Washington State. The Bob Woodruff Foundation committed to fund the site during the OFC Summit held at the Carter Center in the July.
Easterseals Washington has been serving children and adults with disabilities across Washington State as a stand-alone non-profit organization since 1947. As an Operation Family Caregiver affiliate, Easterseals Washington will provide individualized skill-building support to 40 military caregivers residing in Washington State. Using the evidence-based metrics created by the RCI, each of these military caregivers will complete the Operation Family Caregiver Program within four to six months.
“We are honored to be trusted with the delivery of this important program,” stated Cathy Bisaillon, Easterseals Washington president and CEO. “While we have provided support services for military and veteran personnel, the Rosalynn Carter Institute’s evidence-based approach will allow us to make life-improving impact in the lives of these families throughout Washington State.”
Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) is a proven, evidence-based program that provides support to the families of newly returning service members and veterans. Specially-trained coaches teach military families the skills they need to overcome unforeseen challenges and cope more effectively with problems they never imagined. Caregivers who have completed the program report being less depressed and more satisfied with their lives, have fewer health complaints, and are generally more prepared to take care of their families. Since its launch with catalytic funding from Johnson & Johnson in 2012, OFC has helped more than 300 caregivers from across the country.
“It is hard to imagine how difficult it is to be a husband or wife, or a parent, or even a friend, whose loved one comes home from war simply unrecognizable. He or she takes on this new role of ‘caregiver’ — but also needs to adapt to how his or her own life has changed,” said RCI’s executive director, Leisa Easom, Ph.D. “As OFC extends into new communities, we can see the lasting impact it is having on military families.”
“It’s clear that Operation Family Caregiver is improving the quality of life for military and veteran families, and that is our mission as well,” said Mary Carstensen, acting director of Programs and Partnerships for the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “We are proud to bring the program to the state of Washington, home to many who have served and continue to serve our nation.”
After an initial pilot launch in 2012, the program has expanded in each subsequent year. It can be provided in person or via Skype. Over the past three years, RCI has pursued a deliberate plan to extend OFC into states with the highest concentration of post-9/11 veterans, active military, and guard/reserve. With the latest expansion, OFC will be serving military families in 14 locations, including the nine U.S. states with the greatest need.
All OFC sites are managed by local organizations that have been trained by RCI staff. Easterseals’ Washington’s selection as the newest OFC site came as the result of a grant request submitted following the OFC Summit held in July.