Beth Sholom Village renovates to feel safe like home and transition people home

by | Jun 18, 2020 | Trending News

At Beth Sholom Village, cleanliness is paramount.

The recent renovation at the skilled nursing and rehab center located in Virginia Beach, completed days before lockdown in March, has already impressed visitors and residents. With the cosmetic and functional changes made, and standard of care untouched, it’s easy to see that inspiration can co-exist with compliance—even in a setting designed for a vulnerable senior population.

One big change was the installation of showers in every patient room, inside private and modern bathrooms. This upgrade serves residents and caregivers in ways that include safety, access, and privacy. The addition of more natural light, new floors and furnishings, attractive light fixtures, and a calming, neutral color palette on the walls increase the feeling of ‘home’ at BSV.

“This is someone’s home, whether they’re here for rehab, or for long-term health care. There’s no reason the space shouldn’t feel like home and be beautiful,” says Marcia Brodie, BSV director of marketing, “We are delighted every time a family member says, ‘I’d love to have a shower this nice in my home.”’

On the skilled care/rehab side, both gyms were fully renovated and enlarged. That means all new equipment, a bathroom, and a full kitchen with upgraded appliances for functional testing. Staff can effectively assess and prepare someone recovering from a stroke or hip surgery, as they perform activities of daily living necessary to transition back home.

“The last screw went in and the pandemic hit,” says Brodie.

A lockdown is costly, isolating, and vexing in many ways, but better tolerated in a bright space with inviting furnishings and an outdoor area to enjoy fresh air. The specialized memory unit, the Sholom Unit’s new patio area is fenced in for safety, but looks like any outdoor terrace with a grill, big chairs, space for wheelchairs to spread out, and even more natural light.

When the nursing facility was built in 1980, like all others, it was built as a medical model.

“Healthcare has transformed and Beth Sholom was poised to transform with it, creating a hospitality model that delivers great care with great outcomes,” says David Abraham, BSV CEO. “Now you will start to see this play out in more Jewish and non-Jewish facilities.”

The renovation included touching up the common areas with fresh paint and new furniture. “When people walk in the door, they often comment, ‘It smells so good in here,’ or ‘this isn’t what I would expect.’” says Brodie.

Andrea Mantel’s mother, Kathy moved into Beth Sholom Village’s Sholom Unit in late April, as the pandemic shuttered everyone. Mantel is a senior designer at Ethan Allen Home in Virginia Beach. She can’t visit her mother due to the lockdown, but drops things off and appreciates, among other things, the overall look and feel. “When you first walk in, you might think it’s a hotel lobby, not a nursing home. It’s very inviting.”

Mantel cared for her mother at home for six years during a slow and painful descent into Alzheimer’s. She was on the waiting list for six months and learned early on why BSV was the only facility she would trust to care for her mother. “I went to visit every single nursing home in this area. I have two college degrees. Nothing could have prepared me for what I learned. Beth Sholom couldn’t take her at the time, but what was amazing was how they treated me during the interview process. Beth Sholom is a 10.”

Mantel was impressed even before there was a room available for her mother.

“Dawn Orcutt was amazing. She checked in with me and made me feel I wasn’t forgotten. Now that my mother lives at Beth Sholom, when I call to speak to a nurse, they always come to the phone. And, they arrange Face Time since I can’t visit.

“When you’re on waiting list, that’s one thing. But when they call and say they’re ready to take her, it’s a tear of the heart. ‘I really have to do this.’ Decision hits you when that bed is ready. I was crying, calling my cousins. I felt so guilty,” says Mantel.

“But within 24 hours after the move, I got six calls. One each from the Cantor, a social worker, her physical therapist, the head nurse, and someone from the recreation therapy department. They asked about her. What she likes and what she doesn’t like.

That’s when I knew she (I) was going to be ok. I don’t know what I would do without them.”

This is part of a series of articles highlighting local and overseas partner agencies that are beneficiaries of the United Jewish Federation Tidewater’s annual Community Campaign.

— Lisa Richmon