GDVS Suspends Visitation at State Veterans Nursing Homes
The health and safety of Georgia’s veterans is of the utmost importance to us. Following guidance from Governor Kemp, the GDVS has suspended visitation at our two state war veterans nursing homes.
The Georgia War Veterans Home, situated on approximately 17 acres in Milledgeville, is a 375-bed facility licensed and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide skilled nursing care to aged and infirm Georgia war veterans. United Veteran Services of Georgia, Inc., a subsidiary of UHS-Pruitt Corporation of Norcross, operates the home for the Department of Veterans Service under a contractual agreement.
The home operated three skilled nursing care facilities in 2017. The Carl Vinson Building received partial renovation to accommodate 84 veteran patients from the Richard B. Russell Building, which is also undergoing major renovations.
A new sub-acute therapy unit will be located in the Richard B. Russell Building. This new 58-bed skilled care unit will treat service-connected disabled veterans as part of the home. The Joe T. Wood Building remains at a 150-bed capacity, along with the Alzheimer’s Unit in the Wheeler Building with 24 beds. Once renovations are completed by the year 2020, the Georgia War Veterans Home will have a capacity of 306 beds provided state funds remain available at the current level.
Residents have access to several recreational facilities. These include a fitness center; an 18-hole miniature golf course; a library; computers with Internet access and Skype; and a multi-purpose recreation center with pool tables, table games, books, and a large collection of movies.
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transferred a portion of the Central State Campus, known as Cedar Pond, to the Georgia Department of Veterans Service for use by the Georgia War Veterans Home as a recreational area for veteran patients. This area consists of 54 acres, which includes an 8 acre pond for fishing, a covered pavilion, and a club house with kitchen. Cedar Pond will support many parties and other activities for veterans and provide an opportunity to get away from the nursing home for fun and relaxation.
Renovation of this area has begun which includes painting, repairing air conditioners, new flooring and several other small cosmetic repairs. The grounds will have general landscaping development and road repairs. A dock will be built for access to the pond for fishing and enjoying the water. They will also enjoy seeing the many wildlife that reside there. GWVH-Milledgeville is very excited about this facility and looks forward to many years of entertainment from this expansion.
The GDVS Veterans Field Service Office serving veterans in the home and in Baldwin, Hancock, Putnam, Washington, and Wilkinson counties is located in the Wheeler Building. Veteran-related visits for this field office totaled 11,000 for calendar year 2018. This office also serves the 250 veteran patients of the Home by assisting them with compensation and pension claims, counseling services, and family-related issues.
During fiscal year 2019, veteran patients at the home received 82,777 days of skilled nursing care. The nursing home admitted 141 patients during the year and had 141 discharges/deaths. The average length of stay for current skilled veteran patients is 1,308 days or 3.6 years.
During fiscal year 2019, federal assistance in funding a portion of the cost of providing care to veterans in the home amounted to $12,212,689.
As in previous years, many veterans service organizations, civic groups, and church groups continued their sponsorship of numerous activities such as movies, games, dance parties, bingo, picnics, and other activities and programs for the general well-being of the veteran patients at the home.
Groups and individuals that comprised the equivalent of 3,145 individual volunteers providing in excess of 11,589 hours of time valued at over $208,602 presented over 1,213 activities during the year.
The value of donated items made available to the home during fiscal year 2019 was $354,801. Groups and individuals also provided direct monetary donations of $27,853 in support of special activities and projects.
The GDVS Veteran Field Service Office serving veterans in the home and in Baldwin, Hancock, Putnam, Washington, and Wilkinson counties is located in the Wheeler Building. This office also serves the 250 veterans of the Georgia War Veterans Home by assisting with compensation and pension claims, counseling services, and family-related issues. Veteran-related visits for this field office totaled over 6,230 for calendar year 2019. These visits resulted in more than 10,258 transactions in support of their well-deserved benefits.
The home also hosts a VA community clinic that provides outpatient care to veterans in Baldwin and the surrounding counties.