The center took in its first patients on Feb. 4.
“We’re planning on admitting about three new patients per week, until we get to a maximum of 22,” said Dr. Connie Hampton, associate nurse executive for Trinka Davis Veterans Village.
Although the Community Living Center is designed for a maximum of 42 patients, Hampton said the level would be held at 22 through the remainder of the year.
The patients being served are veterans with service-connected disabilities, ranging from 70 to 100 percent or Purple Heart recipients.
“The type of residents we’re taking are a little different from our VA hospital in Decatur,” Hampton said. “These will be residents who can walk around the facility and can move from bed to chair. They are long-term care residents who will be here until they desire to go home with family members or will live here as their permanent place.”
Residents have access to all the services of the adjacent outpatient clinic, including repair of eyeglasses and dentures onsite. The living center will also have its own psychologist and physical and occupational therapists.
The Trinka Davis Veterans Village opened last September, with initial services provided by its 25,000-square-foot outpatient clinic. The clinic provides general practice services, along with several specialties including vision, dental, audiology, podiatry, psychiatry, physical and occupational therapy.
The newly opened Community Living Center replaces what used to be called nursing home units. It will provide services for veterans needing inpatient rehabilitation in a home-like setting with private rooms, kitchen, laundry areas, fitness room, celebration room and courtyard areas.
The center is divided into four “houses,” with each house having 12 private rooms, along with a common kitchen, living area and laundry room. The rooms all have private baths and key-swipe entry cards, similar to hotel rooms, which Hampton said gives residents a sense of ownership.
“They can decorate their rooms with pictures or other items on the walls,” she said. “This is not typical of institutional type long-term settings. We made an effort to make it more homelike. The houses have nice sitting areas, with huge fireplaces.”
The center also has a chef to cook the residents’ meals.
“They can select what they want to eat each day and the chef prepares it the way they want it,” Hampton said.
Another feature is a celebration room, overlooking the courtyard, where the patients’ families can give birthday or anniversary parties.
“It’s set up like a dining room at home,” Hampton said. “It’s attached to a kitchen, so families can bring food, put it in the refrigerator and later heat it up and serve it in the dining room.”
The courtyard has tables and chairs so that residents and families can be outside together during good weather.
Hampton said in choosing residents for the center, the goal is to meet the needs of the community and take drive times for the spouses into consideration.
“However, we don’t exclude residents from other parts of the state,” she said.
The $17 million veterans village was built with a $17 million donation from the Trinka Davis Foundation, established by Katharine “Trinka” Davis, a Carroll County business leader who wanted to provide assistance to veterans. Construction of the building was completed last summer and it was donated to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A public open house was held on Sept. 28, featuring speeches by federal, state and local leaders and U.S. congressional members.
Gary Bruton, a U.S. Navy veteran, is the facility administrator. Before moving to Carrollton, he served as operations manager at the VA Medical Center in Marion, Ill.