Ridgewood Rehabilitation Center in Seward is Growing

Residents, families of residents and administration were present during the April 16 meeting at Ridgewood Rehabilitation Center in Seward.

The meeting focused on the upcoming plans of expansion and redevelopment for the center. The $10.5 million project is set to break ground in June 2013.

We wanted to share some exciting news with you, Mitchell Elliott, Vetter Senior Living chief development officer, said.

Elliott shared visuals of the new floor plan with those present to show the upcoming development ideas regarding the household design.

A household will consist of a dining area, kitchen area, sitting area, bathing spa and nurse work area. There will be approximately 20-24 people per household design, according to Elliott.

The best option for us, our team and our residents is to stay on this campus and to build between the two buildings and eventually remove the west building and retain the east building, Elliott said. Connecting the two buildings will help our staff efficiency and help the quality of life aspect that we really want to continue to develop for our residents. Elliott shared the new layout design that showed a bird’s eye view of the soon-to-be campus.

The east building will remain the east building, but will undergo a considerable amount of renovation, Elliott said. Everything will become more user friendly. Some of the new amenities to the east building will be the installation of new windows, roof and heating and air condition system.

We really felt of the two buildings that the east building had the most potential in terms of renovation and was something we wanted to retain as we continue our various services within the campus, Elliott said. The east building is where renovations will start. The team will be relocating residents within the east building since they are not at full capacity in the building in order to keep the environment secure and safe during the renovation process, according to Elliott.

He compared the current buildings and new construction.

Within the two buildings today we are at 39,400 square feet. The new building and the existing east building will have 67,500 square feet, Elliott said. We are capturing more private rooms, living spaces, staff storage areas and equipment parking. This will allow our team members to provide quality care like never before. There will be 28 renovated private resident rooms- 16 are in memory support and 12 are in the health care household. There will be 20 new private rooms, six in memory support and 14 in the health care households, and 15 new deluxe companion rooms, all in health care households.

The existing entrance at the east building that faces Pinewood Avenue will be eliminated. A secured entrance will be created on the east side of the east building, dedicated to memory support. The new entrance on the west side of the new additional with have a covered portico that will provide a covered drop off/pick-up site.

Two existing trees will frame the new entrance that will face west rather than facing south. The reason we did that was due to some land grading challenges. Having the entrance on the west side will make the entrance more functional and accessible, Elliott said.

Ninety parking spaces will also be created near the west entrance for visitors.

New amenities to the front entrance of the new building will include a sitting parlor and coffee shop with a skylight.

Ridgewood is currently home to approximately 60 residents between both buildings, according to Elliott.

We are licensed for 92, Elliott said. As we talked to the hospital and the community, we feel the right size for Ridgewood is 78 residents. The long term care industry is demanding more private rooms, Elliott said.

The new layout design includes a deluxe companion floor plan.

It is a nice step up from the traditional, side-by-side shared room, Elliott said.

The deluxe companion will be larger and would allow a resident to have their own door to the corridor, window and heating and air conditioning unit. Ridgewood will also provide each resident with a flat screen TV in their room.

The deluxe rooms will be separated by wardrobe units. There will also be a pocket door instead of a swinging door leading to the shared bathroom. The shared bathroom will provide easy access to fold down grab bars.

It will be much easier for the staff to assist residents in the bathroom and it will reduce the chance of injury to residents and staff members, Elliott said. There will be a bathing spa in each of the households. We do not like to call them bathrooms because we want our residents to have a spa experience, Elliott said. We are installing a ceiling track system in the three new central bathing spas within the building. The track will provide lift access to the Whirlpool bathing tubs, the European shower and the toilet in the three new bathing spas for residents with mobility challenges. No portable lifts will be needed in these bathing spas. This is a proven system of providing non-ambulatory residents access to all elements of the spa experience in a safe and dignified manner. Another addition in the new rooms will be a locked medication cabinet and linen cabinet outside each resident’s room. Existing rooms that are being renovated will have a similar storage design.

Our team will stock all the linens in a lower cabinet outside of the resident’s room. The medication for that specific resident will be above the linens. Medications will no longer be passed out in public spaces. We want to get the medication distribution as close to bedside as possible, Elliott said.

A new nurse pager system will also be installed.

Instead of alarms going off and lights flashing outside of the room, all of our team members will wear pagers. Team members will respond to the residents in their assigned household, Elliott said. That way not everyone is getting every call. This will help with the care level load of our team members and will improve the response time. Electronic medical records and charting will be included with the renovations.

The connected buildings will create courtyard spaces that are surrounded by the secure building. A total of three courtyards will be created.

That will give us the opportunity to go onto walking paths, enjoy benches and planters and outside events and activities, Elliott said. Meaningful points will also be created where residents can stop, reconnect and visit with other residents. The existing kitchen in the east building will be upgraded with new kitchen equipment and exhaust hoods among other improvements. That kitchen will become the main kitchen for the entire facility.

We will be moving food in transportation carts to serving kitchens in the different households, Elliott said. Instead of bringing people to the food, we are going to bring the food to the people. By doing this we are shortening up traveling distances and that will be a positive element for our residents and team members. It enables greater independence for our residents as well. The new addition will also include a large therapy room.

It will allow us to support short term, physical rehabilitation for someone who may have had a hip replacement, stroke or cardiac event, Elliott said. By enlarging the therapy gym we will be able to do a better job providing that type of care.

One of the exciting things about the therapy room is that there will be a door off of the gym to one of the courtyards that includes a putting green and will consist of walking paths of different surfaces and curbs, Elliott said. Our therapists will be able to take residents in that space and work on balance and learn how to navigate normal, environmental challenges. An occupational kitchen, bathroom and stair unit with landings will also be created in the new building. The therapists will help those recovering learn to navigate in these areas like they would need to once they return home.

Other amenities that will be created during the redevelopment are a multi-purpose community room and a dedicated chapel.

Our goal is that the chapel always looks like a chapel and doesn¹t become a dining room after a service is finished, Elliott said. We are incorporating stained glass windows on the south side that have been purchased from a couple of older churches that were being torn down. This stained glass is roughly 100 years old. The chapel will sit approximately 40 people, according to Elliott.

The next step of the renovation project is the bidding process. That will take place in May-June 2013. Elliott and his building team plan on hiring in the region for the different elements of the renovation.

The finishing date for the renovations is estimated for November 2014.

We are committed to Seward, Elliott said. We believe this is a great place to be and to provide care and we want to continue being a team player in the Seward community.