In the U.S., there are currently 133 nursing homes which care for tens of thousands of military veterans every year through the VA and other government services. Of those, 60 have earned the lowest possible score on their own rating scale and 100 have been deemed lower in quality than private nursing homes, which have also be shown to have massive issues with neglect and abuse nationwide. Often the VA facilities are run by for-profit management companies but numerous reports show that VA nursing homes are poorly managed and often dangerous to patients in general.
And these numbers don’t just exist in the abstract either. Every day, veterans who reside at these facilities are suffering. Real people who served this country, thousands of them, are dependent on the government for quality care as they age. These people are sick, mentally and/or physically, they are in pain, and they need the support they were promised. Where they should reasonably expect clean and healthy conditions, they may instead find dirty and sickening ones. Where they should be getting regular attention to their wants and needs, many instead live with overworked staff who cannot give them more than the bare minimum of their time. Where aging veterans deserve to live in the most comfort possible, they are more likely to suffer pain and neglect.
The most obvious solution here is a major government intervention and a revamp of the VA nursing home system. But the problem here lies not only in the quality of care our veterans are receiving, but also with the way the government is treating the problem. When speaking about this data, which doesn’t present the government’s treatment of veterans in a very positive light, the acting VA Secretary said it was “fake news.” While this is going on, the president has recently ordered a new head of the Department of Veterans Affairs in an attempt to remedy this nationwide issue, but the attention seems to be placed more on subsidizing private care for veterans than anything else currently.
In any case, the United States has shown its commitment to its veterans through history and policy. Every day these veterans are allowed to live in such neglectful situations is one where that commitment is betrayed.