AVON PARK - As its surroundings build up, modernize and move forward, the senior care facility is also meeting the future with new facilities, equipment and life-enhancing amenities.
For the first time in four years, Royal Care of Avon Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 1213 W. Stratford Road, is undergoing major expansion, renovations and upgrades to help bring improved care and concern to the residents of the 90-bed facility. The new additions will help with occupational, physical and speech therapy for residents looking to get back into their own homes.
Overall, about 3,300 square feet have been added in the $1.2 million, free-standing project, said Royal Care Marketing Director Angel Wiggins. She said about four years ago, ceiling, room, lobby and bathroom improvements were made and the current upgrades and new equipment should be ready for use by the week of Dec. 15.
The highlight of the additions is the activities area and restorative program for people which allows people with long-term disabilities to maintain the functionality they have. She said the state-of-the-art equipment will especially benefit the bariatric program for residents with weight-control problems and includes a small, rubberized indoor track, rubberized floors and a suspension system that helps people with weight and balance problems stay on their feet as they exercise.
In addition, by late December, an Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill will be installed, which reduces gravity's impact by 20 percent and 100 percent of body weight by 1 percent increments, which helps stabilize residents with balance issues.
Other important new components of Royal Care will be a driving simulation computer-generated program which focuses on cognitive functions and reactions, a new kitchenette tailored to those with balance issues and new, in-house laundry facilities for staff.
"For the residents, they will have the ways and means to get into rehab programs that will help them get back into their homes more quickly. For the husbands, wives and children of our patients, they won't have to travel for rehabilitation; it's right in their backyards."
Royal Care began as Hillcrest Nursing Home over 45 years ago, said Administrator Pamela Matheis, in her 12th year with Royal Care. It currently has a staff of 131, including a 24-hour nursing service, a social service director, dietician, medical director and rehabilitation professionals such as Bryant Musselman, director of physical therapy.
Musselman said the expansion at Royal Care, part of Atlanta's Millennium Healthcare Inc., would make it easier for staff to work with residents and monitor their progress. He said he's particularly happy about the balance aspects of the new equipment. In the past, residents had to travel to Tampa, Ft. Myers or even Orlando to get the same help.
Outside the new wing, U.S. Air Force Chaplain Lt. Col. Harold Johnson wheeled his wife, Harriet, towards their car for a short drive. Johnson said he was impressed with the difference the changes would make.
"Definitely, it's going to be 100 percent better. Some of the equipment seems to be antiquated; now, they'll have state-of-the-art equipment to help residents make better transitions."
Matheis said a phase two addition will include 20 more residential rooms, which should be finished by the end of 2014.
For information, call (863) 453-6674.