Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

Veterans Affairs Volunteer Services


The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) operates the largest network of hospitals and health care facilities in the world. Its 173 hospitals + outpatients’ clinics are located in communities from coast to coast in America. Veteran patients require all types of treatment, ranging from highly specialized treatment for the seriously disabled to Outpatient Clinics for ambulatory care and surgery. The DVA's stroke rehabilitation and coronary rehabilitation facilities give expert care and are among the finest in the nation. Also, the DVA medical service plays an important role in the total national medical research effort. Geriatric research done by the DVA has benefitted the entire nation.


Thousands of Veterans are treated at each VA installation. These patients are discharged into the community. This is where community outreach volunteers are needed to enhance our veterans quality of life.

What is Respite Care? Webster's dictionary says "to give respite" is to give someone a rest period, break or breathing spell.

Many veterans face disabilities that leave them in need of an increasing amount of care - care that doesn't require hospitalization - and many family members and friends are now caring for veterans at their homes. These veterans often cannot be left alone due to their disabilities. The caregiver provides all care 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. There is no trip to the mall, run errands, walk around the block, or lunch out with a friend. Even a trip to the grocery store is rushed. Often, the caregiver's own health care needs are neglected because their loved one cannot be left alone. A break for a few hours without worrying about their loved one being alone would be most appreciated.

The Volunteer in Home Respite Care program provides out homebound veterans with the opportunity to have qualified volunteers come into their homes and provide a break for the primary caregiver. The volunteer providing Respite Care would visit once or twice a week for a few hours each visit providing socialization and friendly companionship to the veteran while giving the caregiver a much deserved break.

Volunteering Near Your Home: A Respite Volunteer or team of two (husband and wife or 2 friends) will be matched to a veteran who lives in the same vicinity. After each visit the volunteer is asked to fill out a respite visitation form for turn in to the volunteer coordinator for timekeeping g purposes. The time reporting form also includes a section to discuss problems the veteran is having so that the volunteer can assist the staff by being an extra set of "eyes and ears."

How do you become a Respite Volunteer? Respite Care Volunteers must be regularly scheduled VAMC volunteers. After successfully passing a background check, you will participate ini an orientation and training program provided by VAMC staff to help you become familiar with Respite Care Volunteering.

This program will provide assistance to both the caregiver and the veteran in need of extended care. It will also provide a rewarding experience for you.

Please consider this act of goodness if you can.


Since 1946, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV ) has been an active participant in the DVA VAVS program, providing more than a million hours of service. VAVS volunteers assist sick and disabled veterans in DVA hospitals, domiciliaries, nursing homes, geriatric centers, outreach centers and homeless programs throughout the country. JWV is represented on the National VAVS Advisory Committee by our National VAVS Representative. On the local level, JWV is represented through its local JWV members who serve as representatives (rep) and deputies (dep) at local DVA medical facilities.

Representatives and deputy representatives to the DVA's VAVS committee are appointed for a two year period through the written request of the Department Commander to JWV 's National VAVS Officer c/o National Headquarters. JWV's National VAVS Officer must approve and certify all representatives and deputy representatives to every DVA facility. (These are not local certifications.)

  • Responsibilities of the JWV Representatives and Deputies:
  • Be acquainted with all hospital rules and regulations
  • Interpret all hospital rules and regulations as they apply to your Post's hospital VAVS programs
  • The recruitment of regularly scheduled volunteers to aid at the DVA facility
  • Qualifications of the JWV Representatives and Deputies:
  • Ability to work with others
  • Leadership
  • Prior experience as a regularly scheduled hospital volunteer
  • Ability to handle administrative work
  • Experience in planning and working with groups and in committee work


Volunteers provide assistance to DVA staff members and become valued members of the hospital team. Under the direction of hospital personnel, they perform assigned duties in all departments of the medical centers. As new members of the DVA team, volunteers are given a fundamental orientation course provided by the Chief of Voluntary Service. Although they do not receive a salary, volunteers are considered non-compensated employees of the DVA. As such they qualify for all the benefits of paid employees, i.e., flu shots, and are provided meals if they work four hours or more per day.


All JWV representatives and deputies, are provided with a copy of the JWV VAVS Handbook, which explains in detail the VAVS program.


As a way of thanking devoted volunteers, certificates of appreciation are available to volunteers who have provided years of outstanding service. For further information, please contact JWV 's National VAVS representative through the National Headquarters Office.