About the Home
Hollidaysburg is the largest of the state's veterans homes. It opened with just five residents on June 30, 1977, but the facility's history as a care-provider goes back to 1904, when the Blair County Hospital for Mental Diseases opened on what had been 150 acres of farmland. The original red brick building survives as the Old Administration Building, now home for the Pennsylvania National Guard's 28th Infantry Division Band.
The state took over operation of the facility in 1941, renaming it Hollidaysburg State Hospital, treating the mentally ill. But it was not until after World War II that it began the expansion that resulted in the building of Rush Hall, Neil Hall and Sommer Hall as the main housing and administration units of the complex. The grounds doubled in size, to 326 acres.
As the care of the mentally ill changed from custodial care to outpatient care, the population here dwindled until a decision was made in the 1970s to shut it down.
However, the Department of Military Affairs was looking to expand its veterans homes system. At the time, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home at Erie was the only facility available. The decision to shut down Hollidaysburg was reversed and it was transferred to Military Affairs in September 1977.
Rush Hall, built in 1953, is now the administration building and nursing care facility. It was renamed Eisenhower Hall after the five-star general and president, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Neil Hall, built in 1949, was renamed MacArthur Hall after the former five-star general, Douglas MacArthur.
On April 10, 1992, the old Sommer Hall, built in 1954, officially became Arnold Hall, named after the five-star general and native Pennsylvanian, Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, who is considered the father of the Air Force.
Hollidaysburg Veterans’ Home consists of a total of 506 beds, including 66 for domiciliary care, 167 for personal care and 339 for skilled nursing care with 52 beds in two secure units. The major difference in the types of residency is the level of care required:
- The personal care/domiciliary care unit provides food and shelter, medical and nursing care, ancillary therapeutic services and recreational activities. Residents receive a supervised, protected environment. When needed, assistance is provided for eating, bathing, shaving and other activities of daily living which do not require constant nursing care.
- The nursing unit provides 24-hour care, seven days a week. Residents receive a complete range of clinical services under the direction of physicians, nurses and other licensed health care professionals.
- Two specialty units provide long-term care within a secure setting.
Available to all residents are medical, clinical and nursing services; drug and nutritional therapy; rehabilitative services such as physical therapy and occupational therapy; dental services; social services; laundry; transportation; housekeeping; maintenance; security; fiscal management; and other related services.
Additional services of a specialized nature, such as mental health services, podiatry, and speech/audiology therapy, are provided as necessary to maintain a resident's quality of life.