Liberty Ridge Health & Rehabilitation Center

As rehab customers ask for more amenities, Saber Healthcare Group has answered by providing a facility in Virginia with expanded therapy areas and private spaces. 

Liberty Ridge Health & Rehabilitation Center, which celebrated its first anniversary in February, was the first to open in Saber’s recent expansion to eight new facilities since 2013. Liberty Ridge, located in Lynchburg, sits on a 20-acre site that includes a 173-bed independent living/assisted living facility that’s under construction.

Among its attributes, the 90-bed skilled nursing facility is set to meet the preferences of a rehabilitation population that has skewed younger and knows what it wants.

“What we’ve learned is a lot of the orthopedic patients now are not elderly; they’re younger adults — 40s, 50s, 60s,” says Karen Stanfield, vice president of operations at Saber.  The organization also opened Nova Health & Rehab Center in Weber City, VA, in April 2013.

Residents are “coming in for two weeks post-hip or knee surgery, and looking to have their own private bath within their private room,” Stanfield notes. Baby boomers are on their way, and have more demands.

“They’re looking for Wi-Fi; they’re looking for fine dining,” she says. “They’re looking for rehab gyms that look like acute care hospitals, or acute care rehab centers, private dining rooms, more of the modern amenities. We’re just not looking for the old traditional nursing homes. We’re looking for acute rehab centers that cater more to the lifestyle we have at home.”

Saber has installed desired accoutrements, which include an expanded therapy room, fine dining and comfortable common areas. The private rooms are larger to accommodate guests, and they come with a flat screen TV, recliner and phone.

The layout of the building is set in two neighborhoods. That allows rehab patients to remain in their own area if they wish.

“The intent is not to isolate one population from another but, for the most part, residents who are in rehab are more likely to interact with other residents that are of like health, as opposed to folks who are longer-term stay,” says Will Holmes, an architect for developer Smith/Packett Med-Com.

“They tend to be healthier and more active, able to come to the dining room on a regular basis. The physical therapy component of the building is important. We try to locate that so they can have easy access to that portion of the building.”

The great desire for private rooms influenced Smith/Packett.

“We have some semi-private rooms that were designed to try and create more privacy. They are kind of L-shaped,” Holmes says. “The base of the L is where you’ve got your bed and the middle is where the shared bathroom is.”

Liberty Ridge has a dozen of these rooms, which offer a lower-cost alternative to private rooms. 

“We do those on the end of the corridors. There’s one of each side. We like that design because there’s a little more privacy within a semi-private room.”

Lessons Learned

Keep on top of changes in medical care (younger residents) that will impact your facility.

Stay focused on current trends to provide patients the amenities they desire.

Use design to provide more options for patients (L-shaped two-patient rooms that allow for more privacy).