Blue Star Families and United Health Foundation Launch Initiative to Train and Support Military Caregivers

  • United Health Foundation donates $750,000 to fund The Blue Star
    Cares: Military Caregiver Online Interactive Program, which will
    leverage avatar technology to train and support military caregivers
  • Capitol Hill forum brings together experts to discuss caregiver
    challenges, policies, research and opportunities to enhance pilot
    program development

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Blue Star Families and United Health Foundation announced a new
initiative to train and support military caregivers.

The Blue Star Cares: Military Caregiver Online Interactive Program,
funded by a $750,000 grant by United Health Foundation, aims to increase
caregiver knowledge, skills and confidence related to caring for wounded
warriors, enhance their social support networks through a continuum of
care, and improve caregiver quality of life through new online training
and interactive resources. The training platform will use avatar
technology to create computer-based simulations and care scenarios to
help caregivers problem-solve and address real-life challenges to care.

Military and veteran experts, members of Congress – including U.S.
Senator Richard Burr and Congressmen Scott Peters and Sanford Bishop –
and caregivers discussed unique military caregiver challenges and
opportunities on Capitol Hill today to enhance the program’s development.

“There are about 5.5 million military caregivers in the United States,
and the emotional and physical impact of caregiving can be
extraordinary,” said Noeleen Tillman, executive director for Blue Star
Families. “Through the support of United Health Foundation, this new
program will provide caregivers valuable resources and training to help
improve their own quality of life and the care they are providing to our
wounded warriors.”

“Military caregivers make tremendous sacrifices every day, and their
continued well-being is vital to promoting healthier families and our
military readiness,” said Tom Wiffler, chief operating officer of
UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans, which provides health care
services for nearly 2.9 million service members, military retirees and
their families. “This grant will further enable the vital work of Blue
Star Families and create new, technology-driven training and resources
to improve the health and well-being of caregivers and their loved ones.”

The Blue Star Cares: Military Caregiver Online Interactive Program will
be piloted and tested over the next three years with the goal of making
the avatar training program and evidence-based toolkit available to
military caregivers in the United States and stationed around the world.

“There are many military caregivers that don’t identify as caregivers
when they’re not in the hospital or have unseen injuries such as
traumatic brain injuries, which can be isolating,” said Callie Barr,
Marine Corps spouse and caregiver. “We need to recognize these
caregivers and help them feel supported and understood. This Blue Star
Families initiative is a huge step in the right direction.”

About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is a national,
nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services,
including guard and reserve, dedicated to supporting, connecting and
empowering military families. With our partners, Blue Star Families
hosts a robust array of morale and empowerment programs. Blue Star
Families also works directly with the Department of Defense and senior
members of local, State and Federal government to bring the most
important military family issues to light. In concert with fellow
nonprofits, community advocates and public officials, Blue Star Families
raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life
and works to make military life more sustainable. Our worldwide
membership includes military spouses, children, parents and friends, as
well as service members, veterans and civilians. For more information

About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with
community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health
Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and
dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local
communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth
Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation
dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health
Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and
communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at
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United Health Foundation
L.D. Platt, 202-654-8830
Star Families

Bana Miller, 844-202-7827, x4