Helping to set the atmosphere in the Memory Care Unit in Paonia are hallways and rooms adorned with beautiful black and white photographs of entertainers, sports figures, world leaders and other scenes of importance from the '40s and '50s. They are there by design as conversation points between the residents and those visiting them.
The Memory Care Unit at Paonia Care and Rehab Center has the feel more of a home than a nursing home. There's a large dining and activity area. The counters around the room are just the right height for wheelchairs to fit underneath as patients eat, do activities or just enjoy looking outside. Across the hall is the Quiet Room with comfy furniture and a television. Soothing music is heard playing throughout the day.
It's hard to believe that this remodeled wing of Paonia Care and Rehab Center was just begun in October. Loretha Barnes-Rolf, nursing home administrator, said while the legal work was being completed and policies and procedures for the unit were approved, the architect was making plans. Staff had a tremendous amount of input in the project and did much of the work pulling up carpet, dry walling and painting. Construction started just after Thanksgiving and their opening was on Feb. 5.
The staff worked with vendors Chuck's Glass, Home Depot, JM Plumbing and Heating, Hostetler Construction, Walmart, First Colorado National Bank, Sherwin-Williams, Jake Jacobs, Dependable Lumber and Paonia Farm and Home Supply.
Visiting on the morning of the open house, Shirley Plymale noted, "This was well needed for this area ... They have done a wonderful job."
Crystal Coe, Memory Care Unit coordinator, said the facility has 24 beds. They already had 11 residents at time of the opening, and others were just waiting for the facility to open.
Coe said there will be individual programming for each resident who will constantly be able to do something of their own choosing.
"We're trying to do personalized care," Coe said.
"The programming is person-centered. We're hoping that when people are calmed down we can start pulling medicines back," Barnes-Rolf said. "We want a nice quiet space for them so they are structured and it's quiet."
The Memory Care Unit will be for those with any kind of dementia, not just Alzheimer's. Those suffering with organic brain syndrome or certain kinds of brain injuries can also be admitted. The first ones who joined the Memory Care Unit were already living at Paonia Care.
The two communities at Paonia Care will intermingle. Plans are to begin remodeling the other part of Paonia Care in mid-February.
At the evening ceremony which included two ribbon cuttings and drawings for gift baskets and prizes. Loretha Barnes-Rolf shared that her father had died of Alzheimer's. "He did not get the kind of love and attention we are going to give." She then introduced her staff.
Crystal Coe said patients will be doing things all the time instead of thinking, "I've just been locked away."
"We just want to do this lifestyle programming and personalize it to them," Coe said.
Dr. Timothy Meilner has been the medical director for Paonia Care since 1997. Dr. Meilner talked about "the love in this building." He said, "It's not just staff to residents, but to each other and the community itself."
Respect by the staff is demonstrated "by the quality of care that they administer to the residents," Dr. Meilner said. "They are rewarded not just seeing the joy and continued health of the patients, but also in the high rankings the facility receives ... We're all a big family here ... Residents are treated like our parents, our uncles, aunts, grandparents."
Dr. Michelle Hundley will cover the Memory Care Unit as the admitting physician and working with the each patient's physician.
Bruce Dibernardo is the regional director of operations for Grace Healthcare. Head offices are based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. "If it wasn't for the vision of Loretha, we wouldn't be here," Dibernardo said. "I want to thank Grace [Healthcare] because they see good things in people. They are not trying to make cookie cutter facilities from afar ... We want our facilities to be a part of the community ... It's so nice and refreshing to come here."blog comments powered by Disqus