Temple: VA Care Center ratings hold up against private facilities

TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) The services at Olin E. Teague Veterans' Community Living Center in Temple go beyond your typical nursing home.

Photo By: Chelsea Edwards

"[Patients] might be twenty, thirty years older than me," says Robbie Taylor, Assistant Nurse Manager. He served in the Marines and the Navy before going to nursing school and taking a position at the CLC.

"It's almost like a privilege just to take care of them," he says.

Veterans come to the CLC in Temple for rehab after major surgery or health complications like a stroke, but they also bring complex medical issues.

"Spinal cord injuries, combat injuries, post tramautic stress disorder," says Section Chief Dr. Shobha Karan.

"The private nursing homes do not have the same population as we have," she adds.

The center recently received an unannounced inspection which happens every 12 to 18 months.

For the first time, they're being stacked against privately-owned facilities.

Based on surveys from randomly selected staff, patients, and their families, the center in Temple received four out of five stars overall.

They reportedly received five stars last year, but the side-by-side comparison with private centers wasn't released then.

Patients listed pain management as an area for improvement, but prescription abuse is a common problem for veterans. The center is beginning yoga and acupuncture programs for alternative treatments.

"They do not want too many medications; they don't want to become addicted to medications," says Karan.

Staff are also working to reduce falls in the facility with hourly rounds and more attentive care.

"We're proactively asking them if they need anything, are they okay, are they needing to use the restroom so that someone can assist them," she adds.

The staff is proud of the four-star rating, but they plan to raise the bar higher.

"They're broken so that we can live the lives and the freedoms we live," says Taylor.

"[We] just want to push it to the five star."

The care center at the Doris Miller Department of Veterans Affairs in Waco received an overall rating of three out of five stars.

When the ratings are posted online, you will be able to find them through the links provided.