Enhancing Quality of Life

VA WNY Healthcare System’s Community Living Centers

Family pajama holiday party

Photo courtesy of VA WNY Healthcare System


If you are currently paying for long-term care, you know costs can quickly add up to thousands of dollars every month. For veterans and surviving spouses of veterans who need additional in-home care options or who are currently in a nursing home, Veterans Affairs assistance may be available for eligible veterans at little or no cost to them or their families. Many veterans are not aware of their own cost saving health care options and other VA benefits they have earned after their great service to the nation.

A Community Living Center, (CLC) is a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) nursing home and often the actual permanent residence for many eligible veterans. Veterans can receive progressive nursing home levels of care, which can include help with activities of daily living (e.g., bathing and getting dressed), skilled nursing, and medical care. A variety of specialty programs for persons needing short and long stay services are available. CLC care strives to restore the veteran resident to maximum function, to prevent further decline and to maximize their independence.

VA Western New York Healthcare System CLCs located in Buffalo (Willow Lodge) and Batavia (Pine, Oak, and Maple Lodges) provide short-term, restorative, and rehabilitative care for up to 100 days. Each CLC lodge, has twenty state of the art and fully equipped rooms with professionally licensed geriatric medical and nursing staff. Long-term care options are available for veterans who meet eligibility criteria consisting of Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) calculated disability ratings stemming from service-connected injuries or conditions. For veterans seeking long-term care and permanent residence options, a minimum VBA disability rating of seventy percent is required.  

Another option is the Community Nursing Home Program that assists in the placement of patients who require skilled nursing care in a non-VA nursing home. Nursing homes are appropriate when a veteran needs rehabilitation, skilled care, or total care to manage personal needs. Care can be co-managed. VHA can often pay the nursing home costs for a short time, allowing the patient and family to apply for alternate payment sources such as Medicaid.

Another great program, respite care, provides loved ones who care for a veteran a break from their caregiving duties. Respite care can be provided in community nursing facilities, adult day health care programs, with the utilization of in-home health aides, and in the CLC. Respite care can be used for a variety of reasons. These reasons include when a caregiver becomes sick, needs to go out of town, or just simply needs a break from the stress of providing twenty-four-hour care. VA respite care can be a key element in being able to help the veteran live at home for as long as possible. Respite care is available for up thirty days per calendar year and is best planned well in advance.

Finally, palliative and hospice care program options are also available at VA’s CLCs, in the home, and in community nursing facilities. These incredible programs can help ease and lift the heavy emotional toll of end-of-life care decisions. If a veteran passes away at a VA facility, great attention to detail is provided to ensure veterans transition with dignity and respect.

Find out more about your hard-earned VA veteran benefits and CLC eligibility by calling our VA Western New York Healthcare System at 1-888-823-9656.




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