Southern Arizona VA Health Care System

Services Offered at the Community Living Center

Honoring A Veteran’s Last Wish

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The VA offers a wide range of programs for Veterans who may need some form of long-term care either on a temporary or permanent basis that include nursing homes and residential accommodations home and community based services.
Residential Care and Nursing Home:  Community Living Centers (CLC) (formerly VA Nursing Homes) are located within the VA facility and provides specialty care to Veterans through programs such as Rehabilitation, Geropsychiatric, Interim, Hospice/Palliative and Respite Care in “home-like” environment with activities for Veterans.  Community Nursing Homes are where Veterans can live full time and receive skilled nursing care operating under a VA contract.  State Veterans’ Homes are certified by the VA but are owned, operated and managed by the state governments that provide nursing home, domiciliary or adult day care.  Medical Foster Homes are inspected and approved by the VA but are private homes with trained caregivers available 24/7 that provide home-based primary care services.  Adult Family Homes are where Veterans can live in a rented room with share common spaces with a trained caregiver 24/7.  Assisted Living Facilities are where Veterans can live in a rented room/apartment with some shared spaces with a trained caregiver 24/7.

Home and community-based care services include the following:  Adult Day Health Care is a program Veterans can go to during the day for social activities, peer support, companionship, and recreation.  Home Based Primary Care is health care services provided to Veterans in their home. A VA physician supervises the health care team who provides the services. Home Based Primary Care is for Veterans who have complex health care needs for whom routine clinic-based care is not effective.  Homemaker or Home Health Aide is a trained individual who can come to a Veteran’s home and help the Veteran take care of themselves and their daily activities.  Homemakers and Home Health Aides are not nurses, but they are supervised by a registered nurse who will assess the Veteran’s daily living needs.   Skilled Home Health is short-term health care services that can be provided to Veterans if they are homebound or live far away from VA. The care is delivered by a community-based home health agency that has a contract with VA.  Home Telehealth is a service that allows the Veteran’s physician or nurse to monitor the Veteran’s medical condition remotely using home monitoring equipment.  Respite Care is a service that pays for a person to come to a Veteran’s home or the Veteran can go to a program while the caregiver takes a break.  The caregiver can run errands or leave town for a few days without worrying about leaving the Veteran alone at home.  Palliative Care is a form of treatment that emphasizes comfort care for Veteran’s who may not necessarily have a terminal condition.  Hospice Care is provided for Veterans who have a terminal condition with less than six months to live.

The inpatient hospice program offers comfort care for dying Veterans and support for their families. This care includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Families of all ages may visit 24/7; they may bring in their pets for visits. There is a hospice family room where families may sleep. The Community Living Center (CLC) offers aroma therapy, reiki, pet therapy, chair massages and music therapy to our residents. When our residents die we place a lighted candle by their door and an angel above their doorway to honor their life and death.  We honor residents’ wishes near the end of life by celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and/or allowing them to visit their home for a few hours. Sometimes they have unique requests.  One terminally ill resident approached the hospice staff with a final request.  He stated that he wanted to marry his sweetheart of 20 years before he died.  The hospice chaplain secured a marriage license and a date for the wedding was set.  The wedding took place in the hospice meditation room on December 6, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.; family, hospice residents and staff were in attendance to celebrate and honor the Veteran’s last wish.  It was a beautiful ceremony filled with laughter and tears.  The reception was held in the hospice family room with wedding cake, sparkling cider and flowers.  After the reception, the newlywed couple went out for dinner with their family.  The staff presented the couple a framed photograph of the bride and groom.  The resident was discharged home for Christmas and New Years and returned to the hospice unit in January where he remained until his death.

For more information about any of these long-term care programs, please visit the VA website at:  https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/guide/longtermcare/.

Credit: https://www.tucson.va.gov/features/Services_Offered_at_the_Community_Living_Center.asp