By IAN MUNRO
Daily News-Record 4/24/19
HARRISONBURG — Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community has opened its new Transitional Care Center in the Oak Lea building, the result of a $6.2 million investment with $1.4 million collected from donations.
VMRC is having an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday to formally open the new center, which is 3,600 square feet and part of a 35,500-square foot space dedicated to short term rehab and nursing.
Just outside the rehab facility are 35 private suites for patients, which include private bathrooms.
“This is the only community in the area where we have our short-term rehab in an area by itself,” said Daniel Shickel, admissions manager for VMRC.
Patients are currently living on the second floor of the Oak Lea building, but will be moving into the new rooms in the Transitional Care Center from May 13 to May 15.
“This therapy suite has been operational for about three weeks now,” Shickel said.
The rehab facility is equipped with normal items to prepare patients for everyday challenges, said Betsy Peake, rehab manager for VMRC.
“Our job is to use the equipment and the facilities that we have to mimic home settings in order to better prepare persons to better return to their previous living environment safely,” Peake said.
The facility includes a kitchen, beds, various walking routes and even a mock car.
The mock car’s height can even be adjusted to adequately simulate “transfers,” Peake said. This device helps patients practice getting in and out of cars, even when their family vehicle cannot be accessed.
Patients usually stay in rehab for two to three weeks and must be admitted
from qualifying stays at hospitals to have access to VMRC’s therapy sessions in the new Transitional Care Center, Peake said.
With advances in technology, doctors now say therapy and movement — not rest — speed up the recovery process from procedures like knee replacements, Shickel said.
Last year, VMRC had 440 admissions to short- term therapy, he said.
The newly finished center also has an eatery called the Oak Lea Grille, which Shickel said will provide a social opportunity for residents to gather in a common space and share stories.
“They’re all working to get home,” he said.
Inside the grille is a blue stained- glass piece called “Ripple,” which features engraved names of over 400 donors, made by a local artist, according to Maureen Pearson, director of public relations and outreach for VMRC.
“One gift can have a huge impact in the community,” Pearson said. “So, all of these donors have an effect on creating a space for our community and residents at VMRC.”