Criteria that Define Continuing Care Retirement Communities Associated with the Virginia Diocesan Homes, Inc.


The organization now known as Virginia Diocesan Homes, Inc. was first incorporated in 1955 under the name "The Home for the Aged in the Diocese of Virginia, Inc." As described in its original charter, the purpose of the corporation was, among other things, "to regulate a residential home or homes for the aged men, women and couples, under the supervision and direction of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia." In its initiating resolution, the Diocesan Council in May 1955 stated that:

“The particular purposes and objects for which the corporation is formed are benevolent, charitable, and social; to establish, maintain, operate, manage, control, and regulate a residential home or homes for aged men, women, and couples, under the supervision and direction of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia …”

Thus, the Virginia Diocesan Homes (VDH) was created to serve as an organizational and management link between the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia and the homes that are or will become affiliated with the Diocese. In the intervening 50 years, the VDH has evolved and expanded to encompass several Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) that have certain nearly identical defining criteria. The VDH Board of Trustees serves as a link between the Diocese and the VDH communities, on the one hand, and a link with the Trustees’ parent parishes, on the other hand, on information concerning needs, services and support for elder citizens in Virginia and beyond.

The purpose of this document is to set down the criteria that describe these CCRCs, both for reference purposes in connection with present VDH homes and for application to any CCRCs that may be considered for inclusion in the VDH.


Certain attributes, amenities, standards and benefits are typical of each of the several CCRCs presently associated with the Virginia Diocesan Homes (VDH). They are as follows:

  • They are certified Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, that provide lifetime care to their residents. All but one of them are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and its associated Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CARF-CCAC).
  • They are non-denominational communities that are faith-based in the sense that they are affiliated with the Episcopal Church, specifically with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and with the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the case of the four present Westminster Canterbury houses.1 All Board trustees and directors are members of a faith community, and in most cases the particular VDH communities’ statements of corporate values explicitly express a faith-based orientation.
  • They have a sound financial structure that incorporates projections of future needs of the present and prospective residents and the needs of the individual institutions.
  • They are not-for-profit organizations.
  • They provide financial aid for residents who are unable to meet the full financial requirements of residency.
  • They provide a range of amenities and benefits to all residents.

The following sections more fully describe the meaning of the criteria enumerated above.

As CCRCs, the VDH houses provide all forms of life care typical of CCRCs: independent living, assisted living and nursing care. In keeping with the CCRC concept, residents come to live in independent living with the understanding that they may transition to either the assisted living unit or to the nursing care (aka “health care”) unit when they require that level of care.

  • They provide a continuum of healthcare services.
  • The form(s) of independent living they offer vary according to the available land and the concept of the individual house. Urban houses (e.g., the Goodwin Houses) that have very limited property have confined themselves to multi-storied buildings similar to condominiums, whereas suburban and rural houses like the Westminster-Canterbury homes have chosen to build single-family dwellings like cottages and/or buildings called “villas” containing several garden apartments as well as multi-storied apartment buildings.
  • Assisted living is for adults who need help with everyday tasks. They may need help with dressing, bathing, eating or using the bathroom, but they don't need full-time nursing care.
  • Health care units (HCUs) provide convalescent care, skilled nursing care and long-term care.
  • All VDH communities provide, in ways that differ among the several communities, memory support environments and programming for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related diseases.

The meaning of the term “faith-based” implies that an organization is affiliated in some way with a faith community: an organized church or other congregational entity. The U.S. Department of Health and Urban Development states that “faith-based organizations” consist of three types: (1) congregations; (2) national networks, which include national denominations, their social service arms and networks of related organizations (such as YMCA and YWCA); and (3) freestanding religious organizations, which are incorporated separately from congregations and national networks.2

A non-profit organization is defined as an organization whose primary objective is to support an issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes, without concern for monetary profit. Each VDH community has received specific IRS designation as a “not-for-profit” organization.

Each VDH house has a non-profit foundation that is the source of financial assistance for residents who require it. The Foundations are funded solely by charitable contributions. No financial aid funds come from residents’ fees.

VDH houses feature a range of services, amenities, and benefits for their residents, including:

  • Dining facilities that offer meals three times a day
  • A limited care clinic with a registered nurse on duty within the facility or on-call 24 hours a day
  • An ordained clergyperson on staff who conducts worship services regularly and provides chaplaincy services (e.g., spiritual counseling and support) to all residents and staff
  • All utilities, including basic cable television
  • Security
  • 24-hour emergency medical alert system in each residence
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen service
  • Full maintenance of residences, appliances and common areas
  • Landscaping and grounds maintenance
  • Parking
  • Social, educational, cultural, recreational and special interest programs
  • A swimming pool
  • A fitness center
  • A gardening area
  • Transportation

Additionally, some present VDH houses provide the following additional services and amenities on site:

  • An arts studio and/or a professional art instructor
  • A full-service bank
  • A pharmacy
  • A computer lab with high-speed internet access
  • A woodworking shop
  • A photographic darkroom
  • Access to an adjacent golf course
  • Game room
  • Beauty salon and spa with beauticians, nail technicians and massage therapists
  • Chapel, chaplaincy program and interdenominational services
  • Library with reference center, considerable large-print book selection, current titles, current periodicals, and books written by residents
  • Residents’ business center

Each VDH community has additional areas of expertise that they provide their residents and/or their staffs, such as a child care program offered by W-C Richmond and the two GHI communities’ accredited Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. For an additional fee, some houses offer other services, such as:

  • Medicare-certified hospice care
  • Home care
  • Scheduled physician and outpatient visits
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy with physician’s orders
  • Outpatient clinic with internists, psychiatrist, dentist, podiatrist and optometrist
  • Transportation for shopping, medical appointments, tours and theater events

One final criterion is the connectivity of VDH houses with the local communities within which they reside. Just as all of them draw upon those communities for employees, prospective residents and commercial support, they deliberately undertake various forms of outreach and altruism to strengthen their relationship with the neighboring community.

1 - The Westminster-Canterbury homes in Richmond, Charlottesville, Winchester and Irvington are affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) through the Westminster Presbyterian Homes, Inc.

2 - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development document, Faith-Based Organizations In Community Development of August 2001.