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During the Pandemic: Veterans in Community Living Centers

You may have concerns about a Veteran who receives care in a VA Community Living Center (CLC) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. A CLC is a VA Nursing Home. There are over 100 CLCs across the country. See this listing of the current VA Community Living Center Locations.

Keep in mind that as testing for COVID-19 evolves there may be changes in policies for observation, admission and visiting. Here are some answers to the questions asked most often:

Patient Safety

Q: How are you keeping CLC patients safe?

A: VA staff follow all infection control guidelines. They are grateful to have a good supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Staff and Veterans are maintaining physical distance as much as possible.

Veterans with COVID-19

Q: How is VA dealing with Veterans in CLCs who have COVID-19?

A: There are policies in place to isolate Veterans. Staff monitor symptoms closely to avoid any delay in a transfer to hospital care, if needed.

Patient Admissions and Discharge

Q: How is VA dealing with Veterans who need to start, return to, or leave CLC care?

A: Guidelines have been put in place in all CLCs to safely admit Veterans if they are transferred from a VA facility, return Veterans to CLC care if they had to be transferred to a VA or community hospital, as well as ensure they are not COVID-19 positive when they are discharged from a CLC.


Q: Can I visit a Veteran in a CLC?

A: Right now, CLCs must restrict all visitors, except for certain compassionate care situations. An example might be a Veteran who is dying. Decisions about these cases are made on a case-by-case basis.

Visits Away from the CLC

Q: Can a Veteran leave a CLC to visit friends and family?

A: Staff have asked Veterans to postpone visits outside of the CLC, except for certain compassionate care situations. An example might be a Veteran who wants to visit their spouse who is receiving hospice care at home. Decisions about these cases are made on a case-by-case basis.

Changes in Care – Treatment and Pain Medicines

Q: Can the Veteran leave the CLC for medical visits?

A: Yes, Veterans can leave for treatment visits for dialysis, chemo, radiation, and other medical issues that cannot wait.

Q: What if pain medicines are needed and the Veteran has not had the required in-person medical visit?

A: While a public health emergency is in effect there are guidelines in place for health care providers to prescribe pain medicines.

Respite Care

Q: Are CLCs taking Veterans in for Respite Care right now?

A: No, Respite Care visits are on pause at this time.

Honors Escorts

An Honors Escort involves a flag covered gurney that is moved from the Veteran’s room and escorted through the halls. Veterans (residents or patients) stand at attention and others place their hand over their heart. All pay their final respects to the deceased.

Q: Can you provide an Honors Escort to Veterans who die from COVID-19 while being cared for in a CLC?

A: Yes, every Veteran will receive a modified Honors Escort that involves only CLC staff.