Q: I am an 80-year-old veteran who uses VA Health Care system as my primary care provider. A fellow veteran about my age is dealing with a very serious cancer and also uses the VA for his health care. He told me that due to the seriousness of his medical condition, he was offered palliative care. What is it and would I be eligible if I have the same condition?

A: All veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care system are eligible for palliative care and for hospice care; a service-connected disability is not required. Palliative care is an extra layer of support for illnesses such as advanced cancer, COPD, heart failure and others. It strives to improve quality of life by easing symptoms such as pain, nausea, anxiety, and breathing problems. Palliative care assists with goals of care and helping veterans understand their treatment options. The palliative care professionals also assist with carrying out the veteran's predetermined decisions in case he or she can't speak. VA Iliana Palliative Health Care recently was recognized as a national leader in VA Clinical Video Telehealth (CVT). Veterans in the entire Iliana system (Peoria, Springfield, Decatur and Mattoon) can be helped via telehealth equipment, saving veterans and their families from having to travel to Danville.

VFW event

Chenoa VFW Post 8350 is having a “cash bash” March 17 at Chenoa Auction House. It features an open bar from 4 to 8 p.m. with dancing and entertainment.

Activities include a meal, black jack and roulette tables and drawings for cash prizes. Only 200 tickets will be sold. Tickets are $100 per couple and includes the meal. Ticket-holders must be 21 to enter. You do not have to be present to win. Proceeds go the Chenoa VFW Post 8350. Call 309-826-3933 or 309-830-6059.

A myth

Myth: I was not injured in the service, so I am not eligible for VA health care.

False: If you served in the federal military, even in peacetime and were honorably discharged, you likely qualify for VA health care. Many veterans who applied since 2003 were denied due to the “income means test.” Veterans who served in Vietnam are considered exposed to Agent Orange and are eligible for VA health care. If you were denied health care because your income was too high, you should reapply. Form 10-10EZ is available online by using the form number in your search or you can obtain one at the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission or Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs office at the National Guard Armory on South Main Street in Bloomington. 

Traumatic brain injury

The VA has announced a collaboration between the National Center for PTSD and the nonprofit organization PINK Concussions, encouraging women to donate their brains for the purpose of research on the effects of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Past research has primarily been on male brains. VA research and treatment information has helped many non-veterans have better outcomes. Women Veterans interested in participating in the brain bank may find additional information at http://wwwpinkconcussioncom/.

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Veterans Corner publishes Monday. It is written by the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission, 200 W. Front St., Bloomington, IL 61701; call 309-888-5140.