The weeklong seminar brings together industry experts within the VA system, veteran service organizations, representatives from the assistance dog industry, and veterans who utilize service dogs to learn about the many benefits of service dogs in the lives of veterans living with disabilities.
VHA's Office of Prosthetic and Sensory Aid Services, or PSAS, put together the conference to inform clinicians about guide dogs and service dogs for veterans, establishing the expertise VA needs to draft clinical practice recommendations for PSAS guide and service dog benefits.
“The overall goal of rehabilitation is to increase or maintain veterans at the highest level of functioning possible. The provision of individualized care leads us to explore and apply, as appropriate, all options to maintain independence as long as possible,” said Stanlie Daniels, deputy chief for the VHA Office of Patient Care services. “Our collaboration with guide and service dog organizations is a key component to assuring we are aware of all options to assist our nation’s veterans.”
For the last two years, AMVETS has aggressively advocated for equal access to care and benefits for veterans utilizing service dogs, working closely with PSAS officials on how to best implement proper policy changes.
Alongside 22-year partner Paws With A Cause, AMVETS views this conference as a critical step in ensuring clinicians understand the benefits of assistance dogs in an effort to ensure proper and equitable access for all veterans utilizing the unique prosthetics.
(Image: AMVETS National Deputy Legislative Director Christina Roof and Deputy Chief of VHA Office of Patient Care Services Stanlie Daniels at the PSAS Guide Dog and Service Dog Conference in Phoenix. Photo courtesy of VHA. Story with contributions from Deb Davis.)