New Veterans Nursing Home in Vineland
Story and photo by G.. Natasha Zoe, Veterans Information Officer
Governor James E. McGreevey turned the first shovel and led groundbreaking ceremonies Sept. 27 for the new Veterans Memorial Home in Vineland – a state-of-the-art 300 bed facility that will consist of 240 longterm care beds, a 32-bed special needs unit and a 28-bed assisted living unit.
Brig.Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General, and more than 500 veterans joined the Governor and Vineland Veterans Home residents mark the first phase in construction. The New Jersey Army National Guard’s 63rd Army Band and the New Jersey Air National Guard Color Guard completed the pomp and pageantry of the morning.
The new Veterans Memorial Home’s construction is financed through a partnership between New Jersey and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. New Jersey contributed approximately $17 million with the VA (federal) funding the remaining 67 percent. The $50.4 million project will be constructed in four phases thus allowing continued care of residents during the construction. The new home will be built on the same site as the current buildings. The first phase will begin immediately with the initial site work, including initial building demolition, ground clearing, installation of underground utilities and debris removal. The second phase, to begin around the first of the year, will be the home construction. Phase three will begin late fall of 2004, and includes moving residents into the new home and demolishing the remaining buildings. The last phase, spring of 2005, is the remaining site work and landscaping.
The new home was designed by Nadasky/Kopelson Architects. The project management firm is Gilbane Building Company, Inc. The four prime contractors are Torchio Brothers, Inc. (general construction), RC Fabricators, Inc. (structural steel), Falasca Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Inc. (plumbing and HVAC), and Scalfo Electric, Inc. (electric.)
The assisted living component will nationally be the first assisted living unit within a state veterans nursing home.
The new facility will provide for a full “continuum of care.” Residents can begin in the assisted living unit and as their needs increase move to a more comprehensive care unit, within the same facility.
The current Vineland Memorial Home has a 282-bed capacity.
“We have worked hard to plan the new facility, to ensure the best physical plan – a state-of-the-art facility – to address the needs and quality of life for our residents,” said Joe Romano, the chief executive officer, Vineland Veterans Memorial Home.
The new facility will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, more esthetically pleasing, with improved patient care and staff efficiency, improve the resident quality of life by increasing individual living space and providing more privacy.
Current Vineland Memorial Home residents include veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm veterans. Eligibility for admission is based on financial and qualified medical needs of veterans who served on active or reserve duty and where honorably discharged; and veteran’s spouses and the spouses and parents of veterans killed in action during war. Spouses must be at least 50 and have been married to the veterans for 10 years or more.
Numerous volunteer organizations and individuals support the Vineland Veterans Memorial Home. These are the people who truly make this facility a “home for our veterans”. The American Legion donated a van to the Vineland Home last year. The VFW donated a handicaped accessible bus to the Vineland Home at their annual convention this year. The New Jersey Air National Guard 108th Air Refueling Wing has adopted the Vineland Memorial Home and residents of the Vineland Home recently attended the 108th’s family day at McGuire Air Force Base. Many other organizations that volunteer time and money on a continual basis are: Disabled Americans Veterans (DAV), Jewish War Vets, the Masons, the Elks and the auxiliaries of all these groups.
The Veterans Memorial Home at Vineland is one of three veteran nursing homes operated by DMAVA. The residents receive around-the-clock medical and nursing care, rehabilitative and recreational services, special dietary service and other amenities.
“One of the most difficult decisions a family must make involves the realization that a family member requires the care that often only a nursing home can provide,” said Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs Col. Emil Philibosian. “Just as daunting is the determination of the most appropriate nursing home for the family member as regards standards and levels of care, cost and proximity. For New Jersey’s veterans, our state provides the best of care at our Veterans Memorial Homes, located conveniently in Paramus, Menlo Park and Vineland. Our veterans are urged to make application as early as possible in order to avail themselves of this remarkable resource.”
For more information on New Jersey’s Veterans Memorial Homes or for an application call 609-530-6766.