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Medical Foster Homes

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers the Medical Foster Home Program as an alternative to nursing home care. This program is ideal for Veterans who are no longer able to live independently, but prefer private residential living and in-home care. The Medical Foster Home is a private residential home, owned or leased by a trained caregiver, who provides services for one to three Veterans requiring nursing home level of care.

Program Overview

A Medical Foster Home offers Veteran-centered living and care to include medical and mental
health care, food preparation, spirituality support and recreation activities. Caregivers provide 24-hour supervision and personal assistance to Veteran residents. Caregivers work closely with the Medical Foster Home Coordinator at the Washington DC VA Medical Center to ensure the home and services are in compliance with VA guidelines. The Coordinator can make monthly unannounced visits to the home. Veterans receive additional care in the home through the VA Home-Based Primary Care Program.

The Veteran covers the cost, however, it is often more affordable than costly, long-term
care facilities.

Benefits of a Medical Foster Home

Veterans who cannot live alone due to physical or mental health disabilities can find community-based living arrangements in a home setting with access to:

  • A private/semi-private room
  • A safe environment approved by VA inspection team
  • Location within 30 miles of the Washington DC VA Medical Center
  • 24-hour supervision provided by a live-in caregiver with experience in patient care
  • Flexibility in daily routine
  • A shared living environment with other Veterans
  • A Home-Based Primary Care Team, including a physician, advanced registered nurse practitioner, nurse, social worker, dietician and psychologist
  • Personal care in the community

Medical Foster Home Requirements

To be approved as a VA Medical Foster Home, a residence must:

  • Pass inspection by a Home-Based Primary Care multidisciplinary team and VA fire and safety engineers
  • Meet the state and local licensure requirements to include proper construction, maintenance and sanitation regulations
  • Comply with the fire safety standards set forth by the current edition of the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code
  • Be designed, equipped and maintained to provide safe care and 24/7 supervision
  • Be located within 30 miles of the Washington DC VA Medical Center

Caregiver Requirements

Complete an application and interview with the Medical Foster Home coordinator

  • Pass a background check and provide three references
  • Be at least 21 years old and financially stable
  • Be physically able to provide needed care
  • Have formal or informal experience with patient care
  • Have a backup plan prepared for relief in the event of an emergency

Eligibility and Cost of Care

To be eligible for a Medical Foster Home Veterans must be enrolled in VA Home-Based Primary Care.

Medical Foster Homes are a private-pay option for Veterans, and are often more affordable than institutionalized care. The Veteran compensates the caregiver by paying a monthly fee based on their income and the level of care they need. A financial agreement between the Veteran, their family or legal representation, and the caregiver is finalized prior to placement in a Medical Foster Home.

A VA social worker or case manager can help to determine additional VA benefits that may help cover costs. Learn more about Paying for Long Term Care.

Caregiver Benefits

VA provides Medical Foster Home Caregivers with:

  • Home-Based Primary Care services for the Veteran
  • Emotional support from the Medical Foster Home Coordinator
  • Ongoing caregiver education
  • Frequent contact with the Medical Foster Home Coordinator who can assist with assessing for caregiver stress, burnout, and fatigue, and provide on-going support and advocacy

Nina Davis LICSW

Medical Foster Home Coordinator

VA Washington DC health care