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The Benefits of a Veterans Center and The Comparison Between a Nursing Home

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This paper will provide information on how both a nursing home and veterans center operate and the functions of both services using various sources. Furthermore, there will be details on how the two services compare to one another and the benefits to each one.

A nursing home is a type of facility meant to care for elderly people. The home’s primary function is to help provide a stable living to the elderly who have difficulties caring for themselves due to their advanced age and possible disabilities. The nursing homes provide housing, food and water, clothing, therapies, staff, and various other necessary essentials to allow a resident to live a comfortable life. The homes also allow visitors, allowing residents to talk to their relatives and friends.

A veterans center works generally in the same way as a nursing home, however, the major difference between the two is that a veteran center cares specifically for the elderly who served in any branch of the military. They provide the same services a nursing home typically would to regular residents, however, they offer therapy services that focus on potential trauma of serving in the military, such as PTSD. In addition, according to geriatric psychiatrist Janis Bacon Petzel, “VA (Veterans Affairs) does better than the wider community providing services to aging patients”.

In order for an individual to join a nursing home, the individual or someone else close to them must be able to pay, although the prices can be very expensive. “The cost of nursing home care in the U.S is prohibitive for many, and it can vary widely between regions and states, from around $5,000 per month up to a surreal $25,000 per month”. “The resident can choose to pay through their own funds, have someone else pay for it, or use private insurance or Medicare. Private insurance can be used for long-term benefits but can be very pricey. Medicare does not pay for long-term benefits, instead being more useful for short-term benefits”. According to, “For the first 20 days in a facility, Medicare pays all covered charges — excluding items such as a telephone or television, or a private room that isn’t medically necessary.

For days 21 to 100 in a nursing facility during any one benefit period, Medicare pays all covered charges except a daily “coinsurance amount” for which patients are personally responsible. In 2019, that amount is $170.50 per day. If the patient has a private Medigap supplemental insurance policy, that policy might pay some or all of this coinsurance amount. After 100 days in a covered skilled nursing facility in any one benefit period, Medicare no longer pays any of the cost”. This can prove troublesome to elderly people who need someplace to live but cannot pay the prices.

Veterans are provided nursing home commendations and long-term care through the Veterans Affairs. “There are the VA’s own nursing homes, and there are private nursing homes (called “community nursing homes” in VA language) that contract with the VA to care for veterans when no nearby VA facility is available. There are also the VA’s Community Living Centers, which provide short-term residential care along with ongoing outpatient care. And the VA pays a small part of the cost of residence in State Veterans Homes for some veterans who are not eligible for direct VA nursing home care.” For extended living, veterans may be subject to a co-payment of $97 per day, as opposed to $170.50 per day for a regular nursing home resident of Medicare. Both services contain disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial. 

Due to their service, veterans have a high risk of developing some form of mental illness. According to a study conducted by John F. McCarthy, Frederic C. Blow, and Helen C. Kales, “Almost one‐fifth (17.9%) of residents received a diagnosis of SMI.” And the study concluded that “residents with SMI (and without dementia) exhibited more verbal disruption than residents with dementia (and without SMI), but the two subgroups did not differ in physically aggressive or socially inappropriate behavior”. “Many VA nursing home residents have SMI. Their level of behavior problems is comparable with that of residents with dementia. Clinical practice and nursing home staff training must encompass geriatric mental health and behavior management to meet the needs of residents with SMI”. They tend to receive better service in the VA than in the wider community, with John Bacon Petzel stating, “With that said, it is worthwhile reviewing what the VA does better than the wider community: providing services to aging patients. The VA provides transportation, has developed Medical Foster Homes, Home Based Primary Care, Day Programs, Geriatric Assessment Services, Respite Services, Hospice and Palliative Care and Burial Services, as well as some nursing home care and a dedicated geriatric research program”. Veterans, according to Petzel, tend to have a higher chance to abuse alcohol and other substances. The difference is approximately 15-18% as opposed to 1.4% with the rest of the nursing homes. Petzel said, however, that the biggest problem with veterans compared to regular nursing home residents is PTSD. As Petzel said, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a tricky thing. Combat exposure definitely increases the risk of developing PTSD, but it sometimes does not emerge until late life. In combat veterans, there is a sort of “bulge” in the diagnosis of PTSD through the first three years post-combat, and almost as big a bulge 20 years later. Close to 17% of veterans had PTSD emerge for the first time later in life as reported by Horesh et al. The emergence of PTSD symptoms in late life (after retirement age) has been noted to correlate with the onset of dementia”. Judging by these various studies, the conclusion that can be made is that the majority of veterans tend to have more psychological trauma than that of regular nursing home residents. Community Living Centers provide a combination of short-term residential care options similar to assisted living and ongoing community care to veterans with chronic, but stable conditions, including Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or other Conditions requiring rehabilitation or hospice. “The VA has 3 core strengths that distinguish its services from those of the private sector in caring for veterans: 

  • systemwide clinical expertise regarding service-connected conditions and disorders; 
  • a team approach to primary care that is veteran-centric; and 
  • a holistic view of the veteran that includes physical, psychosocial, and economic determinants of health, as well as critical support services for family members and caregivers”. 

This shows that veterans tend to receive better mental health services because of a veteran’s previous service in the military.

In conclusion, both nursing homes and veteran centers (at their core) function in similar of identical ways of treating elderly residents. They provide a stable, comfortable living for elderly residents. The services cost a large amount of money, but the veteran center tends to cost less money. The veteran centers provide specialized mental therapies to help veterans with psychological problems or substance abuse, and the advantages that a veteran center would have over a regular nursing home. 

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The Benefits of a Veterans Center and the Comparison Between a Nursing Home. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from
“The Benefits of a Veterans Center and the Comparison Between a Nursing Home.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
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