VA provides nursing home services to Veterans through three national programs:
- VA owned and operated Community Living Centers
- State Veterans' Homes, owned and operated by the states
- The community nursing home program.
Each program has admission and eligibility criteria specific to the program. Nursing home care is available for enrolled Veterans who need nursing home care for a service-connected disability, or Veterans or who have a 70% or greater service-connected disability and Veterans with a rating of total disability based on individual unemployability. VA provided nursing home care for all other Veterans is based on available resources.
VA Community Living Centers
A Community Living Center (CLC) is designed to resemble home as much as possible. There are activities for veterans of all ages, veterans are allowed to decorate their rooms, and keep pets. There are more than 130 CLCs, most are located near VA hospitals.
Veterans may stay for a short time or, in rare instances, for the rest of their life. It is a place where Veterans can receive nursing home level of care, which includes help with activities of daily living (e.g., bathing and getting dressed) and skilled nursing and medical care.
Some of the services provided at CLCs include:
- 24-hour skilled nursing care (e.g., help with a wound or IV care)
- Restorative care
- Access to social work services
- Geriatric evaluation and management
- Mental health recovery care
- Special care for Veterans with dementia or other cognitive deficits
- Respite care
- Palliative and hospice care for end of life
A copay may be charged for CLC care based on VA service-connected disability status and financial information.
State Veterans' Home Program
State Veterans homes are owned and operated by the states. The states petition VA for grant dollars for a portion of the construction costs followed by a request for recognition as a state home. Once recognized, VA pays a portion of the per diem if the state meets VA standards. States establish eligibility criteria and determine services offered for short and long-term care. Specialized services offered are dependent upon the capability of the home to render them.
Community Nursing Home Program
VA health care facilities establish contracts with community nursing homes. The purpose of this program is to meet the nursing home needs of Veterans who require long-term nursing home care in their own community, close to their families and meet the enrollment and eligibility requirements.
The VA will only pay for Community Nursing Home care if you meet eligibility criteria involving your service connected status, level of disability, and income.
Other Care Options
In addition to nursing home care, VA offers a variety of other long-term care services either directly or by contract with community-based agencies. Such services include
- Medical foster homes
- Adult family homes
- Assisted living
- Adult day health care
- Home based primary care
- Homemaker and home health aide care
- Palliative and hospice care
- Respite care
- Skilled home health care
- Telehealth care
- Veteran-directed care
Veterans receiving these services may be subject to a copay.