Design Decisions: Not so common rehab

The Kansas center includes specialty rehab services such as wound and respiratory care.
The Kansas center includes specialty rehab services such as wound and respiratory care.
When you've been successfully rescuing and renovating as many properties as Joe Tutera has over the past 30 years, you learn a few things about what works and what doesn't. 

What works? Treating each project as unique, he says. That is why the new $7.5 million Stratford Commons Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, which opened in November 2015, has an identity that defies convention and positions it well for the future, says Tutera, CEO of Tutera Group. 

The new facility is a 34,000-square-foot, single-story community that adjoins Tutera's 29,000 square-foot Stratford Commons Memory Care Community in Overland Park, KS. The rehab center is designed for post-surgical patients as well as residents of the skilled nursing and senior living communities. It offers physical, occupational and speech therapies as well as specialty rehabilitation services including neurological, diabetes, wound and respiratory care.

Spaciousness for congregate and personal areas is one aspect in which Stratford Commons stands apart, Tutera says, because it offers residents more comfort at the expense of greater occupancy volume. The new unit features 41 private units and two couples suites. Large, private bathrooms, a kitchenette with built-in cabinetry, high ceilings and large windows dominate. 

“We wanted to build a 45-bed skilled nursing rehab unit that would provide the services needed and would fit into our hospitality model,” Tutera says. “The main point is private occupancy for everyone.” 

An emphasis on natural light is another pointed design feature, with prominent large windows and ceiling skylights, he says. 

“Light drives the design,” he says. “You can see outside from anywhere in the building.” 

Randy Bloom, president and chief operating officer of Tutera's Healthcare division, says integrating rehab patients and skilled nursing residents with independent living, assisted living and memory care builds up to “an enhancement” of activities. 

“Our goal is to avoid obsolescence,” Bloom says. “What may seem like idiosyncratic details are the ones that are most important. For instance, having fold-out couches for spouses who want to stay or creating enough room for a table that allows bedside dining.” 

Design firm studioSIX5 played an instrumental role in molding the project to fit with the hospitality model. President B. Dean Maddalena says his firm's philosophy meshes well with Tutera's. 

“Creating environments that meet and exceed the expectations of current residents, families and caregivers is not enough,” Maddalena says. “We have to look toward the future and design flexibility in our environments to allow Tutera to provide programs and services that evolve over time. Top-quality service expected at five-star hotels will become the norm in senior living communities.”