Design Decisions: Head to the hills for rehab

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Design Decisions: Head to the hills for rehab
Design Decisions: Head to the hills for rehab
In the heart of Texas' hill country, Westover Hills Rehabilitation and Healthcare, of San Antonio, integrates the region's southern charm and famous scenery to help long-term and short-term residents feel right at home.

The community, which encompasses more than 43,000 square feet, provides skilled nursing services, short-term rehabilitation and outpatient rehabilitation. The building, which was completed just under its budget of $9.2 million in April 2011, designates 2,240 square feet to rehabilitation services.
The size of the rehabilitation gym is key to a successful recovery, says David Frick, president of Smithers Merchant Builders, which oversaw construction of Westover Hills.

“The large therapy room allows for more advanced therapy equipment. A facility needs a lot of space to accommodate state-of-the-art equipment,” Frick said.

He explained that the building's design was intended to help rehab residents return to their own homes at the earliest possible date. Part of this was achieved by having a separate entrance for the therapy gym, which was designed with elderly patients living on the northwest side of San Antonio in mind.

According to Frick, the campus includes an outdoor courtyard with walking paths, vegetable gardening areas, a putting green, a gazebo, outdoor sitting areas and wide sidewalks. These areas were created to encourage exercise for rehab and long-term care residents, Frick explained.

“Our vegetable gardens are raised so that those residents in wheelchairs can still take part in gardening,” said Tim Crank, president of Heritage Healthcare Company, Westover Hills' parent company. “Everything is wheelchair-accessible, including a sidewalk that goes completely around the facility so that no matter which hallway they live on, they can comfortably get around to our outside areas.”

Indoor design elements enhance the rehabilitation experience, too. Hallway design is a key to this, and other facilities overlook this.

“With recessed sub-stations for our nurses and our consultants to work at, our hallways provide extra storage space for linen carts, medications carts and hydration carts. This helps to keep the hallway clear for our residents to easily get around. We also have a very large activity room built at the end of one of our hallways. This truly has been a blessing for our residents,” Crank stressed.

“Whether a group wants to play bingo or just a few residents want to play dominoes, we have a space for them to do that.” 

He touts Westover Hills' in-house television network as a means of helping to make each resident feel like an active member of the community.

“The network allows us to play a movie in our activity room and broadcast it throughout the entire facility,” Crank explained. “Also, if one group goes on an outing, we can videotape it and then play it for our residents who are not otherwise capable of leaving the facility,” Crank explained.
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