When the new skilled nursing facility opens at the Veterans Homes of California-Yountville (VHC-Yountville) in early 2024, it will provide more than a modern state-of-the-art skilled nursing facility (SNF) to replace the 90-year-old Nelson M. Holderman Hospital across the street.
The $269 million, 240-bed facility will also bring a sense of relief and security to many of the veterans now living at the home, and who could someday need the kinds of care it will offer.
VHC-Yountville offers veterans and their spouses four levels of care: domiciliary, residential care facility for the elderly intermediate care, skilled nursing, and memory care.
Each represents a step in the aging process. The new SNF will comprise the latter two (skilled nursing and memory care).
After two years of living under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, just getting out to see the heavy equipment moving on the hillside in preparation for construction has been uplifting for the residents and staff alike, stated Gary.
“It’s raised morale,” he said. “It’s been a terrific upper for everybody. All in all, I’d say it’s a wonderfully positive thing.”
For Jean H. an Air Force veteran and eight-year resident of the Home, the new facility can’t get here soon enough.
“We’ve been waiting for a long time,” she said. “It means they (the patients will) finally have private rooms: their own room, their own bath. Believe me, that’s a big deal.”
The current Holderman Hospital requires two patients to a room – unless there are vacancies – and has communal bathrooms.
“It’s like an old college dorm,” Jean said.
Tom P., a veteran who served as an Army combat medic in 1967-1969 in Europe, is a big fan of VHC-Yountville and is thrilled that the new SNF is about to rise. He has worked as an escort at Holderman Hospital, and agrees with Jean that the single-room issue is an important one to the veterans at the home.
“I’m gung-ho!” he said. “I’ve been an advocate for single rooms in the skilled nursing facility for years. The new one will solve that issue. Having a new facility will be fantastic.” Tom said the new SNF will be roomier and more accommodating for the mobile transportation pieces that veterans use to get around. “We’re all looking forward to it.”
He met his wife, Sandra, at the Home eight years ago, and they were married in a ceremony on campus. She served eight years on active duty as an Army nurse, then as a Reservist, and lastly at VA hospitals in Palo Alto and San Francisco.
The need for skilled nursing care at some point in life is a big reason veterans want to live in CalVet’s four and five-star rated Homes. The cost of their room and board is based on their income, which changes depending on their level of care, but is designed to always be affordable to veterans regardless of their incomes.
“Where else could we get the tertiary care for what we pay a month?” asked Sandra. “It will certainly be something for CalVet to crow about.”