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In November, we wrote about Vietnam-era veteran Julian Scadden, a housekeeper at the Denver VA Medical Center who volunteers to spend time with residents of the hospice floor (the Community Living Center or CLC). When patients who don’t have visitors get close to death, Scadden sits with them. He holds their hands until the end because he believes no soldier should die alone. And because Scadden has been there, more than 200 haven’t.
In May, the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System announced it would be closing the Denver CLC to repair the roof. (The Pueblo CLC remains open.) Residents were discharged to one of five State Veterans Homes throughout Colorado or to contracted nursing care facilities. There are no plans to reopen the facility, nor will there be a CLC when the new VA medical center debuts on the Fitzsimons campus in Aurora next year. While there are plans to eventually build a Community Living Center on the new campus, a timeframe for when that will happen has yet been established. “We will continue to work to ensure the needs of our veterans are met through community care facilities and State Veterans Homes until funding becomes available to support construction of a new Community Living Center,” VA public affairs officer Kristen Schabert wrote in an email.
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In the meantime, Scadden says as long as he is able to gain access to the nursing care facilities and state homes, he will still try to visit his fellow service members so they are not alone in their final moments.