Seeking Extended Care
The VA healthcare program provides for anything external to the traditional hospital setting such as nursing homes and domiciliary care. This type of service is called extended care.
However, VA extended care could cost a veteran contingent on their financial situation, covered in greater detail in the section “Addressing Financial Concerns”.
Nursing home programs provided by the VA include:
- Community living centers: Veterans with chronic stable conditions including dementia, those that need rehabilitation or short-term specialized services such as respite or intravenous therapy, or those in need of comfort and care toward the end of their life qualify for community living center. These centers provide veterans with short-term, curative, and reformatory care up to 100 days with an objective of restores residents to maximum function and take preventative measures in delaying decline, optimizing independence, and providing comfort when dying.
- Contract community nursing homes: These homes are nursing homes with commercial operations under jurisdiction of the VA medical center that are meant for long-term care. They provide for veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare program that live in the community. Medical care and consideration are provided for veterans who no long have the ability to provide for themselves.
- State veterans’ homes: A state veterans’ home delivers nursing home care, adult day care, and domiciliary care, owned and operated by the state. The VA conducts annual inspections, audits, and reconciliation of records while paying a percentage of the cost of construction or renovation to ensure the state veterans’ homes stand up to VA standards.
To be eligible for extended care under the VA nursing home program, you must be:
- A veteran who sustained a service-related disability rating of 70 percent or more by the VA rating system. Chapter 6 contains additional information concerning service-related disability and disability ratings.
- A veteran with a 60 percent service-related disability rating and is also unemployable or rated permanently and totally disabled. Chapter 6 has more details.
- A veteran who has a joined disability rating of 70 percent or more. Chapter 6 has more details.
- A veteran whose service-related disability was clinically determined as demanding nursing home care.
- A veteran with a service-related or non-service-related disability with income and assets below the VA’s national income limits and the HUD’s geographical income threshold found in “Addressing Financial Concerns”.
- If space and resources are available, other veterans on a case-by-case basis with priority given to veterans with service-connected disabilities and those who need care for rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.
A residential rehabilitation program rendering short-term rehabilitation and long-term health maintenance to veterans who need insignificant medical care while recovering from medical, psychiatric, or psychosocial problems constitutes domiciliary care. Many patients receiving domiciliary care are able to return to the community after reformatory care such as residential drug or alcohol treatment programs.
VA extended care also includes:
- Hospice/palliative care: Care providing general comfort and support in the advanced stages of terminal disease.
- Respite care: Momentarily relieving a spouse or caregiver the weight of caring for a veteran who is chronically ill or disabled at home.
- Geriatric evaluation and management (GEM): Veterans enrolled in GEM are given appraisal and treatment from an integrative team of VA health professionals. This reviews and maintains older veterans with numerous medical, functional, psychological, or geriatric problem.
- Community residential care: This care, under limited supervision of professionals, provides room and board to veterans that don’t oblige hospital or nursing home care yet can’t live completely independently due to medical or psychiatric conditions and have no family who can provide care.
- Home healthcare: This is long-term primary medical care for veterans that are living in their homes with chronic illness. They are cared for by an integrative treatment team.
- Adult day care: This service is provided for veterans in group-settings during daytime hours that require health upkeep and reformatory services.
- Homemaker/home health aide services: This service provides health-related services for veterans that require nursing home care. Amenities are organized by public and private agencies under a case management system through the VA medical staff.