Central Virginia Teletherapy Services: “VA Saved My Life.”

Virtual healthcare can provide patients with a sense of comfort without leaving their homes. During the pandemic, telehealth options have become more popular. At Central Virginia VA, a wide range of virtual services are available to meet the unique needs of veterans.

Andrew Morehouse participates in music therapy using telehealth technology, such as VA Video Connect (VVC). After several sessions with it, he feels more at ease.

“It’s easier for me,” he said. “I’m more comfortable in my own environment.”

In the 1960s, VA embraced telehealth technology. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the use of VA telehealth services became common practice. However, since the start of the pandemic, usage has increased by 1,200%.

Morehouse practices a song with Kumme during a telehealth session.

VVC connects VA healthcare providers with veterans using a computer, tablet or smartphone with an email address and internet connection.

Patients can learn new coping strategies

“VVC can build stronger connections with patients, helping them achieve their goals and objectives with minimal disruptions,” said Hope Kumme, a board-certified neurological music therapist who quickly adapted to the technology and produced the one of the largest number of virtual sessions at CVHCS.

Veterans with mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, can be referred to Kumme. She says patients can learn new coping strategies through her teletherapy sessions through a safe, stress-free and positive therapy experience.

“With telehealth, I treat veterans like they’re here with me,” Kumme said.

Morehouse says music therapy has helped him plan for the future. He wrote a song about his overseas service. The song is about a local woman he crossed eyes with during an attack in Iraq in 2004.

The benefits of music therapy

Music therapy is a component of CVHCS rehabilitation services, which aims to connect veterans to services to meet their emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs. The Veteran’s primary care provider can place a consultation for this service.

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Veterans have access to individualized or group music therapy services. Music therapy is also offered through our Veterans Integrative Pain Center, a program for veterans dealing with chronic pain. For more information about music therapy, please contact your doctor.

Pain relief is possible with virtual care

Richard Kanney said he never liked taking drugs. So naturally, he didn’t think of seeking services in a hospital. Reluctantly, after speaking with a friend, he sought services through CVHCS’ Virtual Veterans Integrative Pain Center. He learned the practice of mindfulness. Mindful meditation can help improve pain, sleep, and stress.

“The army almost killed me,” Kenney said. “VA saved my life. I knew I had to go to VA for help, but I didn’t know I had PTSD.

Other services at the Virtual Veterans Integrative Pain center include yoga, breath and movement training, sleep therapy, acupressure, and anti-inflammatory diet education.

“There are so many things I didn’t know I had available to me,” Kenney added. “I learned so much from VA.”

For more information, visit: https://connectedcare.va.gov/.

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