FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is eligible to live at the Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center?
The SPVCLC accepts Veterans, their spouses/widow/widowers, and Gold Star Parents. A Gold Star Parent is the parent of a U.S. soldier who was killed while serving on active duty during a time of military conflict or who died as a result of such service. The military branches include the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Navy. Also included, with exceptions, are reservists of all military branches, U.S. Merchant Marines, and the National Guard. The Veteran's discharge status must be other than dishonorable, and the years of service may be a factor. A Veteran must have served on regular active duty or been called to active duty by Presidential order if a reservist or a member of the US Merchant Marines or National Guard. It's best to call to discuss Veteran eligibility in detail. Please note that Colorado residency is not a requirement, and it is typical for the SPVCLC to have residents from all over the United States.
Also, please keep in mind there must be a valid need for a nursing home as opposed to assisted living or independent senior living. The needs for a nursing home include required assistance with walking, sitting, bathing, toileting, or dressing. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are qualifiers as well. All these items are considered during the application review process.
Do you also offer independent and assisted living?
No, the SPVCLC specializes in 24/7 nursing care only.
Do you offer Memory Care?
Yes. Our memory care unit is for those persons who may require more assistance due to dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Please note that it is not a "secure unit" for anyone who may require psychiatric care.
Is smoking allowed at the SPVCLC?
No. All employees and residents are prohibited from smoking both inside and outside the facility. There are several reasons for this including the harmful effects of both active and passive smoke from tobacco products. Smoking also presents a fire hazard risk and danger due to the proximity of portable oxygen tanks in the immediate area. Residents with COPD or other breathing issues must also be protected. If you smoke or are using other tobacco products and are foreseeing the need for a nursing home, we encourage you to begin the nicotine cessation process as soon as possible. This includes cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes, electronic cigarettes, etc. Violation of the non-smoking policy may result in discharge from the facility.
Marijuana and CBD products are currently not allowed in the SPVCLC per federal regulations. Violation of this policy may result in discharge from the facility.
How long can a resident stay at the SPVCLC?
The SPVCLC offers long-term and short-term care stays. Short-term care may also be referred to as a 'respite' stay. Respite stays are normally anywhere from one day up to thirty days and are 'temporary'. However, the admissions process is the same. A resident who continues to exhibit the need for a nursing home will be cared for.
Who pays for care at the SPVCLC?
The three accepted payer sources are Private Pay, Colorado Medicaid, or the Veterans Administration for those Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 70-100%.
What is a prospective resident cannot locate their military discharge document?
Either the Admissions Coordinator or the Veteran Service Officer in the county of your state can assist you with this using the form SF 180. The form, which requests a copy of the military discharge document (if available), will be submitted to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. This request may take as long as 2-3 months to process.
Are private rooms available?
Most of the rooms are semi-private which means two people to a room. A new resident may be placed on the waiting list after admission for one of the seven private rooms, but the length of time it will take to move cannot be predicted. There are also couples' rooms available as an option for husbands and wives in cases where they both qualify for nursing home care. Please know that the SPVCLC has selected your room and roommate based on what we believe will be compatibility. We understand it is likely that you are unaccustomed to sharing a living space with another adult, so it may be an unfamiliar experience. You have the right to request a room change at any time for any reason.
Do you offer structured care plans?
A group of healthcare professionals called a 'Care Plan Team' will meet with you and your representative and/or family to develop your individualized plan of care. The team meets a minimum of every three months to review your plan and identify your strengths as well as areas that need improvement to ensure the best quality of life. The group will help you establish goals and set in place the techniques to achieve them. The meetings are now being held solely via conference calls.
How does one apply for admission?
It all begins with the application. If applying for yourself, complete the application and refer to the 'Checklist' that identifies the required documents that must accompany the application. The checklist is not just a list of what is needed to process an application –– it is also a good reference of documents we all should have already established, especially as we age. These include naming a medical and financial representative known as a 'power of attorney' and making your wishes known now for end-of-life care and planning. If you are applying for yourself, then you or your documented authorized representative must sign the documents. If you are applying for someone else, you must be the applicant's documented authorized representative such as their Medical or Financial Power of Attorney.
What happens after an application is submitted?
After approvals by the Admissions Committee and Medical Director, the applicant and/or their POA will be notified, and a date and time will be set for the admission. The SPVCLC will adjust their admitting policy as necessary based on the current pandemic regulations provided the local Health Department, the Colorado governor, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the VA, and the President. At this time, a recent negative COVID-19 test is required prior to entering the facility. The Spanish Peaks Regional Healthcare Center (SPRHC) will then administer another COVID-19 test just prior to the actual SPVCLC admission. The new resident will then be admitted to the SPVCLC and situated in a room for a 14-day isolation period. This is an extra precaution that the Medical Director has established to better protect the applicant, the current SPVCLC residents, and staff. Each applicant will be assessed on a case-by-case basis as to whether to first admit to the SPRHC hospital or admit directly to the SPVCLC for the 14-day isolation period.
How does COVID-19 affect the process?
Without question, the global pandemic has affected the expediency of the admissions process as many other agency employees are now working from home or have been furloughed. COVID-19 has affected the workflow of hospitals, physician offices, and Health Information Management Centers, therefore, it is simply taking longer to get things done. Department of Social Services offices are still processing Colorado Medicaid long-term care applications, even though most employees are working from home, creating some delay. Please be assured that the SPVCLC application process is still highly effective although affected by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions placed on all of us.
What happens after an application has been approved?
After approvals by the Admissions Committee and Medical Director, the applicant and/or their POA will be notified and a date/time set for the admission. The SPVCLC will adjust their admitting policy as necessary based on the current pandemic regulations provided the local Health Department, the Colorado governor, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the VA, and the President. At this time, a recent negative COVID-19 test is required prior to entering the facility. The Spanish Peaks Regional Healthcare Center (SPRHC) will then administer another COVID-19 test just prior to the actual SPVCLC admission. The new Resident will then be admitted to the SPVCLC and situated in a room for a 14-day isolation period. This is an extra precaution that the Medical Director has established to better protect the applicant, the current SPVCLC Residents, and staff. Each applicant will be assessed on a case-by-case basis as to whether to first admit to the SPRHC hospital or admit directly to the SPVCLC for the 14-day isolation period.
LEAVING THE FACILITY
Medical appointments: Our Transportation Coordinator will ensure you make it to all your medical appointments and will schedule new appointments for you when necessary. One of our transportation drivers, of which some are CNA's, will take you to your appointment and accompany you during the examination if you wish. Please bring a list of your previously scheduled appointments with the name of the medical entity along with the date and time of each appointment, and we will do our best to get you to those. However, re-scheduling may be necessary due to transportation conflicts. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, family members could accompany the resident in the facility vehicle to the appointment or meet up with them for lunch before/after an appointment, but this is not possible during the outbreak.
Shopping excursions: For the safety of each resident and staff member, we have had to stop our weekly local shopping trips into town and the monthly trip to Walmart in either Pueblo or Trinidad. However, our Activities Department will assist you ordering items from the Internet or catalogs. They will also shop for you (if they are safely able to do so) with the expense of the item deducted from your PNA.
Can residents go outside? Yes. Even though the SPVCLC is situated on the second floor of the SPRHC, there are three grassy outdoor areas for you to enjoy. We encourage you to use our sunscreen whenever you choose to go outside to walk, read a book, or stretch out on the lawn. There are also several above-ground garden beds that are just waiting for some green thumbs. We would normally offer group outdoor activities, but this has not been possible since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Discharging to another facility We ask that you notify us as soon as possible and at least seven days in advance if you are planning to leave the SPVCLC permanently. This will allow us time to obtain discharge orders from your physician, organize paperwork, and make plans to ensure a safe and smooth transition for your move. The Social Services and Nursing Departments will discuss your options should you wish to discharge to home or to another nursing facility. We ask that a resident's personal items be removed from the room within 72-hours of their departure. Please contact our Social Services Department should other arrangements need to be made. A resident must have a safe place to be discharged to.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
Main meals are served in the spacious Mountain View dining room with breakfast available from 7:00-10:00 am, lunch from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, and dinner from 4:00-6:00 pm. You'll be able to select breakfast from a menu and choose from a choice of two entrees at lunch and dinner in addition to grill-order items such as hamburgers and fries.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, family members were invited to dine along with you for a fee in the dining hall and at regular prices in the first floor Rosewood Cafe. One family member per day was offered a complimentary meal. However, this is no longer allowed at this time. We will be sure to update our policies when allowed.
Input regarding the food being offered or anything dietary-related may be addressed at any time. Plus, the Food Committee, headed by the Dietary Department Director, meets with residents the first Thursday of each month at 2:00 pm in the Mountain View dining room to allow residents to provide their feedback and suggestions on menu choices.
What if residents are hungry or thirsty between meals?
No problem! In additional to breakfast, lunch, and dinner - you just need to make it known what you'd like. You're welcome to get a refreshment from the open beverage bar in the dining hall or we'll be happy to get it for you. If you get hungry or have an attack of the munchies between meals or any time of day or night, we have a variety of items always available including fruit, sandwiches, cookies, candy bars, ice cream, chips, and more. Also, our Hydration Aides will offer you a choice of beverages and goodies from their snack cart three times a day while encouraging you to stay hydrated.
Can residents eat in their rooms?
You can - but we are going to encourage you to get up and be active and eat your meals in the dining hall for several reasons. It's healthier for you to move your body and sit in an actual chair, making it easier for you to eat and digest. Our Dietary Department staff loves to attend to your dining needs such as refilling your coffee cup or getting you that extra serving of something you especially like. Should there be an unexpected swallowing or choking issue, staff are in the immediate area to assist. It is for these reasons we recommend eating in the dining hall with other residents.
Can residents drink alcohol?
Alcohol is allowed in moderation if your attending physician approves its consumption. Of concern would be any medication incompatibility or behavioral changes as a result of the alcohol. For the safety of all residents, the alcohol will be kept locked up and only the Charge Nurse will have access to it.
Can residents bathe themselves?
If you are able to bathe yourself in the main bathing rooms, you may do so privately in one of the curtained shower stalls, but there will be a bathing aide in the room for your safety. We prefer that each resident bathe twice weekly, but accommodations may be made for anyone who wishes to do so more often.
Does the SPVCLC have bathtubs?
Oh yes! We have spa tubs that have water jets that are very relaxing. A tub side-door safely allows for tub entrance and exit. The tub design enables a person to sit on an installed seat as if sitting in a chair. The tub can then be moved up or down at varying degrees of incline for a full-body soak. All our residents enjoy this feature.
Can residents send and receive mail?
You can. Mail will be delivered to you by the Activities Department Monday through Saturday, and you can check your emails on the shared computer in the library at any time. Letters, postcards, catalogs, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, packages, and everything else just needs to be addressed to your name at 23500 US Hwy 160 in Walsenburg, Colorado 81089. I do not suggest submitting a 'Change of Address' form to the US Postal Service because your Financial Power of Attorney may need to receive that type of mail directly. It is best to contact individual senders directly regarding any address change for only those items.
Are residents required to participate in activities?
Residents are not required to participate in activities. You can be as social or non-social as you want. Participation, however, may make your days go by faster and offer you some great opportunities to meet others. You may find an interest in something you never thought you would. Although we have people here of all ages, most of the residents find it very comforting be able to relate to someone else who also remembers the "good ol' days.” The Activities Department offers a wide array of interests to take part in which include arts & crafts, bible study, bingo, card games, communion, country drives, group activities, group exercise, hobbies, trivia questions, and television/movies where the popcorn and slushy drinks are always great. Hopefully, the activities of attending church services, fishing at Lathrop State Park, the pet companion program, and Puppy Power Hour will be able to return soon along with some great entertainment from singers, bands, guitarist, pianists, and dancers as the pandemic wanes.
Are beautician and barber services available?
Such normal hair care has been crimped by the COVID-19 pandemic at this time. Alternative methods to offer this service are being considered. The cost of hair care is not covered by the SPVCLC, but the fees may be taken directly out of your PNA with authorization.
What are the visiting hours?
Visiting hours used to be 24/7, but that has also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitation protocol will be addressed, as the CDC’s guidelines affects the population standards. Meanwhile, window visits are available by appointment via our Activities Department, and you may speak to your family members at the same time using telephones. The Activities Department is also helping residents interact with their family and friends via the phone and computer programs such as 'Google Duo.’ Should a resident be facing end-of-life, family members will be able to visit one at a time after COVID-19 screening. Under the current circumstances, this is the safest protocol available.
Does the SPVCLC have a resident council?
Yes. The Resident Council consists of residents and provides a forum to offer suggestions and share concerns and issues. The group also administers financial donations made on behalf of the residents. The president, vice-president, and secretary of the Resident Council are all actual residents of the facility elected by their peers. All residents are invited to attend the monthly meetings scheduled the third Tuesday of each month at 1:00 pm in the Greenhorn Room once the social distancing ban is amended or lifted.
The SPVCLC has a grievance policy and procedure whereby residents are encouraged to communicate any grievances with the assurance that their grievance will be addressed. The Charge Nurse is available 24/7 to listen to and process your grievance. The Nursing Home Administrator is the SPVCLC Grievance Officer. The administrative and management staff are also open and responsive to your concerns. You will be provided guidance throughout the grievance procedure whenever needed. There is also an ombudsman to speak with if, for any reason, you feel more comfortable conveying your concerns to that person instead. The ombudsman, whose specific area of concern is assisted living and nursing home facilities located in southern Colorado, may become your advocate on your behalf.