Construction of two new veteran nursing homes in rural areas approved
May 23, 2018
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the construction of two new nursing homes for veterans in Flagstaff and Yuma.
Each nursing home will have 80 beds available to aging veterans, a memory care unit, rehabilitation centers and veteran benefit counseling. They will be designed as neighborhoods, allowing veterans to commune and build relationships.
Wanda Wright, director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, says Veterans Affairs has been providing much more support to rural veterans. She says there was a study done years ago to determine how many beds would be required in a new home. They found about 1,500 aging veterans who would be in need of a nursing home.
“The VA recognizes that we need these skilled nursing homes, and they are actually funding them so we can support our veterans,” Wright says.
The nursing home takes care of a variety of challenges that would make it difficult for a family to take care of the patient at home. Those challenges include issues with dementia, Alzheimer’s, lost limbs and ALS, among other situations.
“There’s rec therapy, occupational therapy and short-term therapy in some cases when we can allow our residents to get back home if we can,” Wright says.
Another part of the nursing home is the veteran benefit counseling offered. There are currently veteran benefit counselors stationed at both the Phoenix and Tuscon locations, and the same is planned for the new sites. Wright says the counselors are able to keep tabs on the veterans and make sure they are being given the support they are supposed to have.
Not only will the nursing homes benefit veterans, but it will also aid the economic development in both Flagstaff and Yuma. Wright says between the two locations there will be about 250 additional positions to be filled with state employees.
The state of the new nursing homes is still in the design period, which Wright says will take eight to 10 months to complete. It’s expected that doors will open by the end of 2020.