Paralyzed Veterans of America recently joined the VA Long Beach Healthcare System to celebrate the opening of a new Spinal Cord Injury Long-Term Care Unit in Long Beach, Calif.
The Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Long-Term Care Unit is one of six in the U.S. and the only one on the West Coast. It will serve veterans with spinal cord injury or dysfunction or with diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Patients will receive long-term, 24-hour-a-day specialized care from an interdisciplinary team.
Paralyzed Veterans of America and VA leaders celebrate the opening of the Long Beach VA Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Long-Term Care Unit.
Source: Hubbard M, VA.
The 12-bed residential facility is designed for patients to personalize their bedrooms and socialize in the public living room area, to improve quality of life for patients.
According to a press release from Paralyzed Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans has spent more than 10 years advocating for a long-term care unit in Long Beach and provided clinical and architectural input.
“For the first time ever, veterans who live west of the Mississippi do not have to settle for community nursing homes and other places where the nuances of spinal cord dysfunction are often unheeded or misunderstood,” Sherman Gillums, Jr., deputy executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America, said in the release. “The new long-term care facility at the Long Beach VA is the first step toward ensuring full quality of life for all paralyzed veterans, no matter where they live, from the time of injury to the end of life.”
Lana McKenzie, MBA, associate executive director of medical services and health policy for Paralyzed Veterans of America and a former nurse at the Long Beach VAMC SCI Center, said the facility offers additional resources including peer counseling, caregiver support services and weekend passes to gauge whether veterans are able to go home — all to enable veterans to live longer and more fulfilling lives.
“We know the challenges of discharging and placement of an SCI patient; there are not a lot of options,” McKenzie said. “The Long Beach SCI Long-Term Care Center is a starting point for many more facilities like this to open.”