WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the VA Long Beach Healthcare System officially opened the doors of its new Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Long-Term Care Unit for veterans with spinal cord injury or dysfunction (SCI/D), or diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The Long Beach Long-Term Care Unit is the sixth in the nation, and the only one on the West coast, operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) has advocated tirelessly for the opening of a long-term care unit in Long Beach for more than 10 years. Paralyzed Veterans leadership was on hand for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony held this afternoon to mark the unit’s opening.
“This Long-Term-Care unit will provide much-needed care for catastrophically injured veterans when family members or other caregivers can no longer address their needs,” said Al Kovach Jr., national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “After 10 years of championing the construction of the new center, we are proud to see the clinical and architectural expertise we provided finally pay off. The doors are now open and ready to serve those veterans who might otherwise have nowhere else to go for long-term care.”
The VA Long Beach Long-Term Care Unit is a 12-bed facility for residents with quadriplegia and paraplegia, as well as residents with multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It is also equipped to provide extended care to patients requiring ventilator care. As with other such centers across the country, veterans with SCI/D will be cared for by an interdisciplinary team of experts in a homelike environment.
The facility has public living room areas that encourage socializing and camaraderie. The bedrooms are designed for veterans to personalize, with plenty of places for individual belongings; a desk to work and keep books or files; and a seating area for visitors. Studies have shown that these more “residential” facilities have a positive effect on health outcomes and can greatly improve the quality of life.
In areas where the Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide such facilities, veterans without alternatives are often relegated to nursing homes or other facilities unequipped to provide for their specialized-care needs.
About Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For nearly 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (www.pva.org)