Sgt. John L. Levitow Veterans Healthcare Center

What's Next

Message from Administrator:

The Healthcare Center team is honored to work for those who served our country. The Healthcare Center goal is to provide service excellence to our Veteran Patients. Let me highlight a few of the areas that made our center stand out from the rest:

  • Medical care provided by on-staff Physicians and APRNs that are doing rounds every day from 8 to 5PM and on-call coverage provided by UCONN physicians
  • Our on-site pharmacy in the Healthcare Center allows Veteran Patients to get any medications they need without waiting for deliveries
  • There is no waiting for days for routine laboratory tests as we have our own Laboratory that performs stat testing any time of day or night including rapid flu testing with allows for prompt changes to medical treatment plans
  • Dedicated Staff with longevity and consistent assignments
  • Veteran Patients are among their peers which builds comraderies
  • Veteran Patient’s service is celebrated through distribution of Quilts of Honors, birthday celebrations for branch services, shadow boxes displaying their career and family
  • Spiritual care offered by on-staff and volunteer Priest and Chaplain
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapies are offered and enjoy by all Veteran Patients – not just Veteran Patients who are showing progress
  • Recreation that provides individualize group and community trips
  • Volunteers that are here because they want to serve those who served
  • Veteran Patients in private rooms have their own private bathroom equipped with a full shower
  • Veteran Patients in semi-private rooms only have to share a full bathroom with another Veteran Patient
  • Each Veteran Patient enjoys their own television that they can adjust to their needs
  • Our semi-private rooms have much more privacy due to the room being divided in half by a full wall

Upon entering the Healthcare, you will sense a home environment. We welcome our Veteran Patients to their new home with a huge smile, Welcome Basket, and packets of information. Each Veteran Patient and their family are asked to actively participate in establishing their plan of care.

Medical Services

Medical Staff

The Healthcare Center Medical Team consists of full time physicians and APRNs that provide daily consultation and care to all Veteran Patients. Our Medical Team is working 7 days a week to ensure that are Veteran Patients are getting optimal medical care. Physician consultation is available to our Veterans 24 hours a day through on-call services provided by University of Connecticut Hospital physicians.

In addition to the above, the Healthcare Center Medical Team has a part time physiatrist who sees Veteran Patients that are referred by the Healthcare Team on an ongoing basis.

The Medical Team actively participates in quarterly multidisciplinary Veteran Patient team meetings. During these meetings individualized plans are established to ensure that the specific needs of each Veteran Patient are met. In addition to these meetings, the Medical Team participates in the Pharmacy and Therapeutic, Pain Rounds, Wound and Fall Management, Compliance and Quality Assurance, By-laws, and Quality of Life Committees.

Their duties include:

  • Diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries
  • Being active interdisciplinary team members and clinical educators for all support and Nursing Staff
  • Examining Veteran Patients for symptoms and signs of injury or disorder using diagnostic aids
  • Prescribing medications and recommending dietary and activity programs as indicated by diagnosis
  • Referring Veteran Patients to appropriate medical or surgical specialists when necessary
  • Coordinating care with VACT Healthcare Services and other healthcare providers

The Medical Staff takes pride in being the clinical site for students from Yale-New Haven Medical Center - Department of Psychiatry, and Quinnipiac College.

Nursing

The Department of Nursing is responsible for five (5) Nursing Units or Neighborhoods. The professional Nursing Staff provides individualized, coordinated, planned care for our Veteran Patients. The entire team follows a rehabilitative and palliative care model. Our goal is help all Veteran Patients reach their highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.

Veterans Patients living the Healthcare Center are cared for by Staff that have longevity and are given consistent assignments.

Under the auspices of the Nursing Department the Healthcare Center operates a Hospital Clinic within the Healthcare Center, which provides the following services to our Veterans:

  • Routine radiology and ultrasounds
    • Non-emergent CT scans and Nuclear Medicine studies are referred to the Newington or West Haven Federal VA
    • In emergent cases, the Veteran Patients is transported to an area hospital for testing
  • Podiatry
  • Optometry
  • Psychiatry – individualized and group services are provided

In addition to the above, the Nursing Department schedules and arranges transportation for Veteran Patients that need dental care at University of Connecticut Dental Clinic. Services include:

  • Routine exams
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • Dentures

Clinic in Residential Facility

The Healthcare Center operates an outpatient clinic in the Residential Facility. Veteran Residents in the Residential Facility receive primary care from VACT Healthcare Services and other healthcare providers and are offered the following through the DVA Clinic:

  • APRN and Nursing Staff for emergent care needs 7 days a week on day and evening shift
  • Yearly vaccines
  • Annual review of medical care
  • Emergency care
  • Overall health care management in conjunction with Federal VA
  • Assistance with minor medical treatments
  • Scheduling and transportation to appointments
  • Medication management and administration

Cardiopulmonary

The Cardiopulmonary Department provides respiratory and cardiac services to Veteran Patients with acute and chronic diseases such as COPD, Emphysema, and Chronic Bronchitis in addition to heart related conditions. Our department has licensed Respiratory Care Practitioners on duty seven days a week from 7 AM – 9:45 PM.

Skilled Staff provided the following services:

  • Respiratory assessment and consultation
  • Oxygen therapy & support
  • Aerosol therapy
  • CPAP support
  • Chest physiotherapy
  • Lung volume Enhancement (Breathing exercises & breathing retraining)
  • Smoking cessation
  • Diagnostic Testing:
    • EKGs
    • Pacemaker checks
    • Walking & overnight pulse-oximetry

Our highly dedicated Respiratory Care Practitioners are a vital part of the Healthcare Center team entrusted to bringing the highest level of quality care and services to Veteran Patients. Two of the five Veteran Patient neighborhoods have piped in oxygen and the remaining three neighborhoods have several rooms with the same oxygen feature.

Pharmacy

The Department of Pharmacy collaborates with the Healthcare Center Team to provide personalized pharmaceutical care in a culture dedicated to a high standard of excellence. Our on-site pharmacy operates to assure positive drug therapy outcomes for our veterans and contributes to achieving the objectives of the Healthcare Center:

  • Assures quality and safety of the medication management process
  • As part of the interdisciplinary team, cultivates an environment of collaboration between physicians, clinicians, staff, Veteran Patients and their families
  • Maximizes the use of automation and information technology
  • Maximizes cost effectiveness and resource utilization
  • After hours emergency pharmacy service
  • Preceptor affiliation with Western New England University and University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy.
  • Personalized Veteran Patient interaction

 Laboratory

The DVA has an on-site Laboratory that provides a wide array of test and analyses as an aid in the diagnosis and treatment for Veteran Patients in the Healthcare Center and Residential Facility. Skilled Medical Technologists perform phlebotomy to obtain blood samples and perform laboratory analysis on the samples as required. Other specimens which are collected by Nursing and Respiratory Staff are sent to the Laboratory for testing. This service is available any time of the day or night.

Procedures that cannot be performed in-house are sent to our reference Laboratory.

Radiology

Ultrasounds and x-rays are provided in the Healthcare Center through a contracted Radiology Service. Non- emergent CT scans and Nuclear Medicine studies are referred to the Newington or West Haven VA Hospital. If the situation is emergent, the Veteran Patient is transported to an area hospital for testing.

Infection Control

The Infection Control Nurse conducts total Healthcare Center-wide surveillance of infections; develops, reviews and revises infection control standards for the Healthcare Center and Clinic in the Residential Facility in conjunction with the department supervisors; serves as a consultant to the Medical Staff, nursing personnel, ancillary departments and administration regarding problems related to infection; has membership on numerous committees to ensure appropriate infection control input; provides in-service education programs to Staff to improve knowledge and practices of infection control; reports reportable diseases to the State and local health departments.

Clinical Education/Staff Development

The Clinical Education Department strives to fulfill the mission, vision and values of the DVA through Staff development activities. Clinical Education assists in assuring quality of care provided to our Veterans Patients through adequate education and training of the Staff who provide care. It enables Nursing Staff to perform at the level required by job class, job responsibilities, and Veteran Patient care requirements. Specific competencies are determined by job description as well as State, Federal, and professional standards. Additional benefits of the education process include decreased liability, improved survey performance, Staff retention, improved Veteran Patient and Staff safety, and through programs such as fire safety training and correct equipment use.

The Clinical Education Department provides the following:

  • General orientation of all new Healthcare Center employees, Veteran Workers, Students and Volunteers
  • Annual training in Fire Safety, Electrical Safety, Hazardous Materials, Infection Control, Abuse & Neglect, Workplace Violence, and Social Services Workshop
  • Mandatory Education, In-service Education, and Continuing Education
  • The nursing department takes pride in being a clinical rotation site for nursing students from a variety of institutions.

Utilization Review and Risk Management

The Utilization Review and Risk Manager Nurse reviews all admissions for medical necessity and administrates the Medicare certification process. Continuous evaluation of risk related to Veteran Patients and Staff, monitoring, and quality assurance analysis is performed to ensure the highest standard of care are maintained.

Memory Care Unit

The Healthcare Center has a 25 bed Memory Care with dedicated nursing and recreation staff that are trained in the care of Veteran Patients with dementia or other memory deficits, This is a locked unit which ensures the Veteran Patient’s safety with providing them with opportunities to engage in art, gardening, music, and physical activities/games in a secure environment

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department provides services to the Healthcare Center Veteran Patients in a rehab gym that has all of the necessary equipment to help Veteran Patients maintain their mobility and independence. Any Veteran Patient may be referred by their Physician/APRN for evaluation by a therapist who will determine the appropriate course of treatment intervention. Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, and Speech therapy are provided for as long as needed with the goal of maximizing function and quality of life.

Healthcare Center Staff work closely with the VACT Healthcare Services and certified companies to provide custom mobility devices; including wheelchairs, orthotic and prosthetic devices. Certified Orthotists and Prosthetists participate in the evaluation, design, fitting and follow through for proper fitting and function of the prescribed device. This cooperative effort ensures that each Veteran Patient is provided the opportunity for maximum functional independence.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy provides services to maximize functional mobility and independence using a holistic approach to treatment. Evaluation of range of motion, strength, transfers and mobility, ambulatory skills, pain and assistive device needs help us to individualize a therapy plan for each Veteran Patient. Prior to admission from or discharge to the community; a home visit can be done to determine the rehab needs for a successful transition.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy provides services to maximize functional skills and independence. Evaluation of activities of daily living (ADL) such as washing, dressing, and eating are continually conducted and treatment plans are developed to maximize the Veteran Patient’s independence. Therapeutic plans are developed to assist with the pain, functional range of motion and strength and adaptive equipment needs. Occupational Therapy actively consults with the Nursing department to ensure maximum comfort for any Veteran Patient with positioning concerns.

Speech and Language Pathology

Speech and Language Pathology provides a continuum of services including prevention, identification, diagnosis, consultation and treatment of Veteran Patients relating to speech, language, cognition, swallowing disorders, hearing, and balance. Evaluation of speech, language, cognition, voice and/or fluency helps us to individualize a therapy plan for each Veteran Patient with these needs.

Recreation Services

Therapeutic Recreation and Activities program offers specialized programs and activities to enhance the quality of life of the Veterans Patients we serve. Activities include games, cooking groups, sensory stimulation, special entertainment and social events, picnics, sporting events, shopping, bowling, and community trips of various sorts. Entertainment and other special events are frequent highlights for the Veterans. Activity programs are held in common areas such as the recreation room, the dining room, in the neighborhood day rooms, outdoors and in the community. The Veteran Patient’s input for the types and times of activities and events is very valuable to the program. In addition to the facility-wide activities; neighborhood specific and individualized recreation/leisure services are provided. This includes activities on our Memory Care unit which offers those Veteran patients with dementia or other memory deficits, opportunities to engage in art, gardening, music, and physical activities/games in a safe environment.

In addition, Veteran Patients are represented by a Veteran Council whose officers are elected by them and who are voting members of the Board of Trustees for the DVA.

The Vet Gazette is an in-house newsletter created monthly by the cooperative effort of Veteran Patients, Staff and Volunteers. In it you can find Veteran Patient bios, informative articles, special events, Veteran Patient birthdays, farewells to those who have passed, trivia questions, historical facts, anecdotes, and a question/answer section.

The Healthcare Center is a certified Music & Memory™ provider. Staff are trained to create and provide personalized playlists using digital audio systems that are provided to the Veteran Patients to promote memory, provide a means of communication and engagement, replace confusing environmental stimuli, reduce boredom or distress, promote cooperation with care, brighten mood, decrease agitation, reduce the need for certain medications and help family and Staff connect more meaningfully with the Veteran Patient.

Social Work Services

The Social Worker works with Veteran Patients, Staff and family members to identify social, spiritual and emotional needs and assist Veteran Patients and families in adjusting to the healthcare setting. Individualized counseling and referrals address issues such as aging, illness, disability, grief and loss. The Social Worker assists with discharge planning when the Veteran Patient is able to return to the community. They are the Veteran Patient advocate in the Healthcare Center and provide ongoing education regarding Veteran Patient’s Rights and Advance Directives. They play a vital role in providing support and coordination when Conservatorship applications are required.

Dining and Dietary Services

Dining is one of the most important parts of the Veteran Patient’s day and nutritional value is vital to the health and wellbeing of our Veteran Patients. Those we serve come first. We strive to understand their needs in order to continually exceed their expectations.

Each Veteran Patient meets regularly with our Dietician to review their preferences, nutritional needs and therapeutic diet which is ordered by the Medical Staff.  The Veteran Patient and interdisciplinary team together create the nutritional plan or care. Veterans, families and Staff are continually provided nutritional education.

Veterans can eat in our main dining rooms or on their neighborhood. Our dining menu is based on a four (4) week cycle and is prepared following the latest trends in the community. We offer special meals such as pizza night and wing night. The Food Service Team is always responsive to the changing needs and desires of the Veteran Patients and implements recommendations discussed at the Veteran Council meetings and visit with Veteran Patients. 

Spiritual Care

The Sgt. John Levitow Health Care Center has made a commitment to provide our Veteran Patients with Staff and programs to meet their spiritual needs. Our Veterans fought for religious freedoms and it is our mission to provide compassionate care of the spiritual needs of each and every Veteran Patient. At any time, a Veteran may request a visit from our spiritual counselors.

Veterans regularly attend services in the Healthcare Center Chapel weekly which is decorated with stain glass windows that were donated by service organizations and individuals. Our services are open to family members and friends to join us in worship. Individualized spiritual direction and other services and support for all faith traditions are available upon request.

Weekly our Spiritual Staff and volunteers organize Veteran’s Art Class and Bible studies.

Volunteers

Veteran Patients and family can expect to see eager Volunteers assisting with all types of activities throughout the Healthcare Center. Volunteers can be seen escorting Veteran Patients to the therapy gym, activities and to outside medical appointments. Several times a week, Volunteers bring therapy dogs for a visit. Volunteers can also be seen assisting with meal time. Volunteer organizations will come in and host Bingo several nights per week. Volunteers are always welcomed.

Rooms & Amenities

The Healthcare Center consists of five neighborhoods: Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Foxtrot. Echo is the neighborhood where Veteran Patients receive specialized care for dementia and other cognitive diseases. Veteran Patients can expect the following:

  • Units with full in-wall oxygen
  • Private and semi-private rooms with private bathroom and shower
  • Semi-private rooms with partial walls for privacy
  • Lock box for valuables
  • Computer, Library and Reading room
  • Laptops for Veteran Patient to use in their rooms
  • Wi-Fi throughout the Healthcare Center
  • Individualized televisions
  • Chapel
  • Facility vans for recreational activities
  • Facility van for transportation to Newington and West Haven Fed VA for consultation visits
  • Barbershop
  • Laundry room for Veterans to do their own laundry
  • Recreation room with regular activities and entertainment
  • Private family dining room with a full kitchen for families to prepare or have meals here with their loved ones