Tomah VA builds two new long-term care facilities - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Tomah VA builds two new long-term care facilities

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Military veterans in our area facing long-term health issues now have another long-term care option. A group of veterans at the Tomah VA will soon receive care in a new home.

The VA recently built two new facilities that give veterans a place that feels more like a home, and less like an institution, called a Green House concept.

The Green House concept provides a full range of personal care and clinical services expected in high-quality nursing homes. At the same time, this model gives priority to the Veteran's quality of life, providing an atmosphere of security, privacy, dignity, and companionship in a real home setting.

The Green House homes, Building 409, 410, will be located north of Building 400 on the Tomah VA campus.

The residents will be free from the limitations of an institutional schedule and live a comfortable daily life - sleeping, eating and engaging in enriching opportunities as they choose. Meals will be prepared in the kitchen and served at a large, single dining table where residents, their primary caregivers, families, and friends can enjoy a pleasant dining experience. The residents will also be able to assist with meal planning and assist with preparation as they wish.

The Green House model provides a new model for staffing that includes the leadership of a "guide" and "resident care assistant" which is a flexible worker that provides personal care for the resident, while also doing the routine household tasks of cooking, cleaning and laundry. The resident care assistants are certified nursing assistants who receive additional training and form a self-managed work team to complete assignments, scheduling and all the work in the household.

There will also be a clinical support team assigned to assist the resident care assistants in the care of the residents. Nurses will also be working in the homes 24 hours a day. 76-year-old Lee Decker has lived at the Tomah VA for the last three years. Decker suffers from dementia.

He toured his new home for the first time Wednesday. He's one of 10 veterans with a service connected disability currently being cared for at the VA who will get his very own private room in the new facility.

"It's a family type of living," said Pamela Sanberg, Associate Chief of Nursing, Extended Care at the VA.

Two homes will house 10 residents each and they each get their own bathroom. The facility also has it's own kitchen. Staff will cook and clean and provide medical attention to residents.

Decker's daughter Christie said this new home will help him physically and emotionally, "He kept saying 'Am I sick? Why am I in a hospital?' This will provide a home environment for him."

Nurses will be there 24/7, staff will consist of certified nurses assistants and a clinical support team.

The project cost a total of 6 million dollars.  The VA plans to build two more homes like this within the next year.

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