New York/New Jersey VA Health Care Network
VISN 2 Health Care Services: Geriatrics and Extended Care Programs
Geriatrics and Extended Care Programs
Community Living Center Care (formerly known as Nursing Home Care) is provided to veterans who meet specific service-connection criteria and who do not need to be in the hospital but require nursing and related medical or psychosocial services. VA Community Living Center Care is offered at each medical center. The program is designed to help the patient return to a community setting. This might include returning home, going to an adult care home, or to a community nursing home. Even if a patient leaves a VA community living center, they are still able to receive the help they need from the VA.
Community Nursing Home Program
The Community Nursing Home Program assists in the placement of patients who need nursing home care into a community nursing home. VA pays the nursing home costs for eligible patients (either on a temporary or permanent basis depending on the veteran’s eligibility).
Geriatric Evaluation Management Clinic
Geriatric Evaluation Management Clinics are designed to meet the complex health care needs of elderly veterans and those with chronic illness. Patients receive basic, general health care from a primary care doctor. When a patient’s needs become too complex, they are referred to Geriatric Evaluation Management Clinics for evaluation and management.
Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia Care
Alzheimer’s disease/dementia are conditions that affect the brain. Memory loss is one of the first signs. Other signs can be changes in personality or behavior. Speaking clearly might also become a problem. The Geriatrics and Extended Care Line offers help in obtaining a diagnosis, treatment and care for dementia. Providers in the clinic do the history on neurological issues. There are professional Dementia Care Managers at each medical center who work primarily with the providers and specialty staff. Early diagnosis allows patients and their family time to try treatment options. It also gives them time to connect with support groups and make practical plans for the future.
Respite provides caregivers a “break” from their caregiving duties. Respite care is provided if a caregiver becomes sick, needs to go out of town, or simply needs a break from the stress of providing “around-the-clock” care to a patient. Respite can be a key in helping the veteran live at home for as long as possible. Respite care is available for up to one month per year.
Advanced Illness Care Coordination
The Advanced Illness Care Coordination Program is a comprehensive approach to advanced illness/end-of-life care. The program uses a case management approach by a nurse or social worker. The program helps to reduce barriers to palliative care by introducing advanced illness and end-of-life discussions among doctors, nurses and patients, ensuring support for quality advanced illness care; and providing patient-centered care that encourages mutual-participation relationships, informed choice, and patient autonomy.
Palliative Care is a supportive service for anyone with an advanced and progressive illness who would like assistance with symptom management. The goal of Palliative Care is to reduce the patient’s pain and discomfort and to help them be as comfortable as possible in a home-like setting. The patient’s and family’s personal choices are supported which include life celebration. A variety of activities help enrich the meaning and quality of the patient’s life.
Hospice Care is a type of Palliative Care. A patient receiving Hospice Care typically has a terminal condition with a life expectancy of less than six months. The patient does not receive treatment that would prolong his/her life.
Adult Day Health Care
Adult Day Health Care strives to maintain or improve the health of patients. This enables family members and other caregivers to continue to care for the patient in his/her home.
This program may be offered through a VA managed program or through a community-based program that the VA pays for. During the day, veterans receive care in a safe, structured setting and return to their own homes at night. Adult day health care programs focus on general health care and the social needs of the patient.
Skilled Home Care
Skilled Home Care provides certain health care services in the patient’s home. Services may include community living center care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and social work. Care is provided under the direction of a VA doctor or contracted doctor. Care may include catheter irrigation/changes, colostomy bag changes, and dressing changes. Help with medications, prosthetics, massage, turning, positioning and transferring, may also be included. Spinal cord injury patients may receive bowel and bladder care.
Homemaker/Home Health Aide Program
The Homemaker/Home Health Aide Program permits the VA to pay for homemaker and home health aide assistance for veterans. The program supports veterans living at home instead of being placed in a nursing home. The types of services provided include assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and getting in or out of bed or wheelchair. Other services can include help with walking, exercises, using medical equipment, and health monitoring. In some cases, specific household tasks such as light housekeeping may be provided following personal care.
Home Based Primary Care
Home Based Primary Care is a special program that provides primary health care in the home for the severely disabled or chronically ill patients. HBPC manages patients with complex medical problems (these problems require long-term care to maintain the patient’s health status or slow its decline), patients with a terminal illness, and certain patients with relatively short-term problems. These patients need health care services, home training, and home adaptation.
Services are provided until the patient can be properly cared for in an outpatient clinic.
Community Residential Care
The Community Residential Care Program provides room, board, and limited personal supervision (at the veteran’s expense). VA nurses or social workers make regular home visits and veterans continue to receive their health care through the VA.