Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition recommends more beds for new facility than state’s current proposal

Hampden County

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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – After a planning report from the state on the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, the coalition for the home has counter recommendations.

The Coalition said at a press conference on Tuesday that the state’s assessment underestimates the current and future demand for long-term healthcare for veterans in western Massachusetts.

Right now the nursing home facility has 235 beds, but the state is recommending there be even fewer. The state is proposing a smaller 180-204 bed facility to renovate or replace the current facility in Holyoke. The Coalition says a 280 bed facility would better suit residents current and future.

“We believe the data that they use understates the true demand for care. In their care it does an analysis of the waitlist. We believe the waitlist that they use, which was from this year or from 2020, was uncharacteristically low,” Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition member, Paul Barabani told 22News.

They want a facility that will “provide adequate veteran care for many years to come.” We’re talking 75 to 100 years before we expect any future improvements [again] here in Holyoke,” Barabani continued.

The state says their proposed “small house” model for the facility “is to adapt the Home to the future changes in Veterans’ needs, including an increased female population and the need for small specialized care units.”

The coalition supports the facility replacement option with all private rooms but the state said in their report the rooms will be “primarily” private.

The state is finalizing their facility proposal to meet an April 15th application deadline for federal funding.

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