Virtual health care can offer patients a sense of comfort while never leaving home. During the pandemic, telehealth options have become more popular. At the Central Virginia VA, a wide range of virtual services are available to address the unique needs of Veterans.

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

“It is easier for me,” he said. “I am more comfortable in my own setting.”

In the 1960s, VA adopted telehealth technology. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, the use of VA Telehealth Services became common practice. However, since the pandemic started, the use has increased by 1,200%.

Morehouse practices a song with Kumme in telehealth session.

VVC links VA health care providers to Veterans by using a computer, tablet or smartphone with an email address and an internet connection.

Patients can learn new strategies of coping

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

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

“With telehealth, I treat Veterans as if they are right here with me,” Kumme said.

Morehouse says music therapy helped him look forward to the future. He has written a song about his service overseas. The song is about a local woman he locked eyes with during an attack in Iraq in 2004.

The benefits of music therapy

Music therapy is a component of CVHCS’s rehabilitation services, which works to connect Veterans with services to address their emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs. The Veteran’s primary care provider can place a consult for this service.

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Veterans have access to individualized or group music therapy services. Music therapy is also offered as part of our Veteran’s Integrative Pain center which is a program for Veterans battling chronic pain. For further information regarding music therapy, please contact your physician.

Pain relief is possible through virtual care

Richard Kanney said he never liked taking medicine. So naturally, he didn’t think to seek services at a hospital. Reluctantly, after talking with a friend, he sought services through the Virtual Veterans Integrative Pain Center at CVHCS. He learned about 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 needed to go to VA for help but I didn’t know I had PTSD.”

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

“There are so many things that I did not know I had available to me,” Kenney added. “I’ve learned so much from VA.”

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

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