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VA Geriatrics and Extended Care

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers Geriatrics and Extended Care programs to help older and chronically ill veterans, as well as caregivers and families. These services are meant to maximize each patient’s independence and quality of life. Learn how Mesothelioma Hope can help veterans with mesothelioma and their caregivers access life-changing health care benefits.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

What Is Geriatrics Extended Care?

VA Geriatrics and Extended Care is a series of programs available to U.S. veterans as part of their VA benefits.

These programs can help U.S. veterans with chronic diseases like mesothelioma easily access quality medical services.

VA Geriatric and Extended Care services include:

  • Home-based care
  • Hospice
  • Palliative (pain-relieving) treatments
  • Rehabilitation
  • Respite for caregivers
  • Stays at VA-affiliated assisted living facilities

U.S. veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer can use these benefits to get the care they need. See all the benefits available to former service members and their families in our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

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  • File a VA claim
  • Receive legal compensation

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Types of VA Geriatrics and Extended Care Services

Veterans can access a wide range of VA Geriatrics and Extended Care services depending on their individual needs. Learn more about specific VA elderly care services below.

Adult Day Health Care

Through the VA’s Adult Day Health Care program, veterans meet with other veterans several times a week.

Veterans are given a meal and participate in fun activities such as drawing, painting, and dancing. Adult Day Health Care also allows caregivers to get time to themselves so they can run errands, go to appointments, or take a short trip.

There may be a co-pay fee for this VA extended care service.

Home-Based Primary Care

Through Home-Based Primary Care, veterans can receive medical services without leaving their homes from a team of medical experts.

These medical team members may include:

  • Dietitians
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Physical therapists
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers

Veterans typically meet with a nurse several times per month. Physicians and other specialists will make home visits depending on when they’re needed.

This type of VA long-term care is useful for veterans with mesothelioma who have difficulty traveling, since some of the medical services will come to them.

Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care

A VA-approved homemaker or home health aide cares for veterans who live at home under the supervision of a registered nurse.

VA health aides can assist you or a loved one with:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Getting to doctor’s appointments
  • Grocery shopping
  • Light housekeeping
  • Medication management

The VA’s Geriatrics and Extended Care programs are very helpful if a veteran lives far away from the nearest VA medical center and doesn’t want to live in a nursing home.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is focused on reducing an ill veteran’s symptoms and suffering.

Palliative care is different from life-extending mesothelioma treatments since the goal is to ease pain rather than increase survival. Types of palliative care offered by the VA include low-intensity medical treatments, music therapy, acupuncture, and visits with service animals.

Our team can help you access palliative care for mesothelioma and other VA extended care services. Call (866) 608-8933 now to learn more.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is a type of palliative treatment that comforts veterans with terminal illnesses like mesothelioma.

Veterans who have 6 months or less to live can get hospice care at home or in the hospital for free (as the VA doesn’t charge copays). A mesothelioma hospice care team can include physicians and nurses, psychologists, and social workers.

Respite Care for Caregivers

Caring for a U.S. veteran with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease can be taxing. Thankfully, VA respite care services allow caregivers to get a break so they can recharge and prevent burnout.

There are two types of respite care:

  1. Home Respite Care: The veteran can either visit adult day care or have a third party visit them at home while the primary caregiver is on respite.
  2. Nursing Home Respite Care: The veteran will temporarily stay in a nursing home while their caregiver is away.

Skilled Home Health Care

Through Skilled Home Health Care, a third-party service is hired by the VA to help housebound veterans with mesothelioma.

Skilled Home Health Care helps veterans who need services such as:

  • IV antibiotics
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Skilled nursing
  • Speech therapy
  • Wound care

A veteran’s doctor will see if Skilled Home Health Care is needed, and from there, nurses and other personnel can meet with the veteran.

Skilled Home Health Care is typically provided for only a short period of time, and the cost of these services may be covered by the VA, Medicare, or private insurance.

Learn how to apply for home health care and other VA extended care benefits in our Veterans Compensation Guide.

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  • Access $30+ billion in trust funds
  • File a VA claim
  • Receive legal compensation

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Telehealth Services

Telehealth connects veterans with specialists and care teams digitally without the need for an in-person visit at a VA geriatric clinic.

All veterans can receive telehealth services if they have VA health care. Services may vary depending on where the veteran lives.

Veterans Health Care, Fitness, and Rehabilitation Programs

Veterans can access rehabilitation and fitness programs with their VA geriatric benefits.

Health, fitness, and rehabilitation services offered by the VA include:

  • Geriatric Evaluation by a team of health care professionals
  • GeriPACT (helps veterans with mental health /physical issues)
  • Gerofit (exercise program tailored to a veteran’s needs)
  • Rehabilitation and prosthetics services
  • Whole Health (personalized medical planning services)

VA Residential Extended Care Options

There are two residential options in the VA Geriatrics and Extended Care program: residential care facilities and nursing homes. Learn more about each below.

Residential Care Facilities

Residential Care Facilities, also known as Community Living Centers (CLCs), are specialized care facilities operated by the VA. These facilities provide long-term care support services to veterans who need nursing home care or could benefit from assistance with daily living activities.

Types of residential facilities for veterans include:

  • Adult family homes are very small. Typically, only 6 people or less live in each. Many amenities, including bedrooms and bathrooms, are shared with other residents. These homes have a trained caregiver who is on duty 24/7.
  • Assisted living facilities allow veterans to get care full-time. In these facilities, the veteran has their own room and sometimes their own kitchen. A caregiver is on staff at all times.
  • Community Residential Care (CRC) is a broader program where veterans live in either a caregiver’s home or a long-term care facility to ensure their basic needs are met.
  • Medical Foster Homes are similar to adult family homes. They are private facilities with usually less residents than a nursing home, and on-staff caregivers help veterans by providing care around the clock.

Nursing Homes

If a veteran can’t live independently due to a chronic illness or disability, they may be able to live in a VA nursing home or assisted living facility.

Veterans can choose from several types of VA nursing homes:

  • Community Nursing Homes are local facilities that partner with the VA to help veterans. A team of nurses and aides is on-staff at these nursing homes.
  • State Veterans Homes are run by the states and offer veterans-specific programs and care services. All of the residents are U.S. veterans.
  • VA Community Living Centers (CLCs) are nursing facilities that resemble a person’s home. CLCs are usually meant for short-term stays, but veterans may live in them for longer periods in some cases.

Eligibility for VA Geriatrics Extended Care Coverage

U.S. veterans who receive VA medical benefits may be eligible for VA Geriatrics and Extended Care services.

You may qualify for VA long-term care coverage if you:

  • Did not receive a dishonorable discharge from the military
  • Face challenges related to chronic medical issues like mesothelioma
  • Have a clinical need for the services

Mesothelioma Hope can help you access VA Geriatrics and Extended Care services and other benefits now. Download your Free Veterans Compensation Guide to learn more.

Mesothelioma veteran support guide
Free Downloadable GuideVeterans Compensation Guide
  • Access $30+ billion in trust funds
  • File a VA claim
  • Receive legal compensation

Get Your Free Guide

Paying for VA Geriatrics and Extended Care

The VA will cover the expenses for most geriatric services, and there are many ways to pay for leftover costs. Learn more about coverage options for VA geriatric care below.

  • VA benefits: A standard medical benefits package covers VA Geriatrics and Extended Care services such as skilled home health care and adult day care.
  • VA disability: Currently, VA disability compensation awards nearly $4,000 a month to married U.S. veterans with mesothelioma. Veterans can use this compensation to pay for any long-term care expenses not covered by the VA.
  • Medicare and Medicaid: These federally funded programs can also be used to pay for other expenses (such as copays).
  • Mesothelioma compensation claims: If you’re a veteran with an asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma, you may be able to sue asbestos manufacturers for causing your illness. If successful, you can use the settlement or verdict to pay for VA long-term care services. An asbestos lawyer can help you learn more about your options.
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): You may qualify for SMC if you get VA compensation for a disability like mesothelioma and are also bedridden or require a lot of care from somebody else as a result.

Tips for Extended Care Planning

If you or a loved one is a veteran with mesothelioma, choosing the right VA Geriatrics and Extended Care plan can be challenging.

Keep the following tips in mind when planning for your long-term care needs.

1. Choose Someone to Act on Your Behalf

First, find someone to act on your behalf if you become ill and cannot make decisions for yourself. Be sure you deeply trust this person and that they will follow your health care wishes.

2. Set Your Long-Term Health Care Goals

Next, set your long-term health care goals. This will help you determine the best VA Geriatrics and Extended Care options.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to live in a large, institutional setting, or a private, smaller setting?
  • How much help do I need with daily activities?
  • What disabilities and conditions do I have, and what treatments do I need?
  • What is my budget?
  • Which VA Geriatrics and Extended Care services am I eligible for, and can I use them to pay for my long-term health care?

3. Explore Your Extended Care Options

Once you have a clear idea of your long-term health care goals, explore your VA long-term care options.

Visit the VA website at VA.gov or contact a local VA office to learn more about extended care services that fit your budget, disability rating, and preferences. Make sure to write down which long-term care programs best suit your needs.

Learn More About VA Geriatrics and Extended Care

Choosing the right extended care programs for a veteran with mesothelioma can seem daunting at first, but Mesothelioma Hope is here to help.

Our team can help you and your family file for mesothelioma VA benefits, connect you with top doctors who treat this cancer, and pursue compensation. We’ll make the process easy and fight to get the justice you deserve.

Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide now to learn more.

VA Geriatrics and Extended Care FAQs

What are the VA benefits for the elderly?

There are dozens of VA benefits available to seniors fighting mesothelioma. Some of the most notable are VA Geriatrics and Extended Care services.

These services include long-term care in nursing homes, respite care for loved ones, and much more. Call (866) 608-8933 now to learn more.

What is the VA program that allows a veteran to choose a nursing home close as possible to his or her home and family known?

This is known as the VA Geriatrics and Extended Care program and it allows veterans to access elder care at nursing homes and other similar facilities.

U.S. veterans with mesothelioma may benefit from staying in a nursing home if they need full-time care. However, in some cases, in-home VA health care could be more helpful.

Can I have VA health care and Medicare at the same time?

Yes. You can receive both VA health care and Medicare benefits at the same time. Medicare help cover any copays charged by VA Geriatrics and Extended Care services — helping veterans with mesothelioma reduce their financial burdens.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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References
  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 6). Eligibility for VA health care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, July 14). Geriatrics and Extended Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 24). Geriatrics and Extended Care: Adult Day Health Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Adult_Day_Health_Care.asp
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Geriatrics and Extended Care: Hospice Care.” Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/pages/Hospice_Care.asp
  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 25). Geriatrics and Extended Care: Medicare Benefits and Long Term Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Medicare_Benefits_And_Long_Term_Care.asp
  6. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 25). Geriatrics and Extended Care: Palliative Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Palliative_Care.asp
  7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 25). Geriatrics and Extended Care: Respite Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Respite_Care.asp
  8. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 25). Geriatrics and Extended Care: Skilled Home Health Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Skilled_Home_Health_Care.asp
  9. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 25). Geriatrics and Extended Care: Telehealth. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Telehealth.asp
  10. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 9). Geriatrics and Extended Care: VA Financial Benefits. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/VA_Financial_Benefits.asp
  11. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, May 6). Geriatrics and Extended Care: VA Long Term Care Services. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/VA_Long_Term_Care_Services.asp
  12. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 25) Geriatrics and Extended Care: Veteran-Directed Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Veteran-Directed_Care.asp
  13. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, June 9). Medicaid Benefits and Long Term Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Medicaid_Benefits_And_Long_Term_Care.asp
  14. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018, April 2). Medical Benefits Package. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/publications/hbco/hbco_medical_benefits_package.asp
  15. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Patient Care Services. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.patientcare.va.gov/geriatrics.asp
  16. VA Health Care. (2022, February). Adult Day Health Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/docs/adult_day_health_care.pdf
  17. VA Health Care. (2022, February). Home Based Primary Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/docs/Home_Based_Primary_Care.pdf
  18. VA Health Care, (2022, February). Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/docs/homemaker_and_home_health_aide_care.pdf
  19. VA Health Care, (2022, February). Veteran-Directed Care. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/docs/Veteran-Directed_Care.pdf
How We Can Help

Mesothelioma Hope is passionate about helping patients and families affected by this aggressive cancer. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be scary and isolating, but we’re here for you at every step. Hope is only a phone call away.

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