VA working with pest control, says no rodent activity at nursing home in past week

Department of Veteran Affairs.

Three weeks after rats were found living in the ceilings and walls of the Community Living Center, a Veterans Affairs nursing home, Interim Medical Center Director Michael Welsh announced in a statement to the press Friday morning that there has been no sign of rodent activity for eight days. 

The initial discovery came after an employee reported a damaged ceiling tile on the first floor of the building July 22, which on closer inspection proved to be due to rodent activity, said Welsh. He said staff inspected the first and second floors of the building and found more evidence of rodent activity. 

“As is common in this part of Arizona, we believe the rodents probably entered the building to escape the recent flooding caused by the monsoon season,” Welsh said. 

Welsh said, the VA worked with outside pest experts and searched the entire facility, finding additional rodent activity in one first-floor office and a second-floor storage room. 

The Community Living Center has 25 residents – who are all 70 years old or older, Phoenix VA center chief nurse Stephanie Kendricks said earlier

All were relocated “out of an abundance of caution,” Welsh said. Additionally, the VA canceled all elective surgeries scheduled at the facility. 

Welsh said no veterans were harmed or reported any contact with the rats. 

In the last eight days, Welsh said pest control experts have checked the facility daily with no continued signs of rodent activity. He also said the VA’s engineering team is working internally and with outside help to close all potential gaps in the building. 

As of noon Friday, there is still not a date set for when residents will be able to move back, said Kristen Schabert, chief of the communications department for the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Currently, she said the displaced veterans are either living in VA facilities in Prescott or Tucson, or at hospice facilities in the Phoenix area.

Reach breaking news reporter Sam Burdette at or on Twitter @SuperSafetySam

Support local journalism. Subscribe to today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *