By Dave Tompkins
With 54 independent living apartments, 113 shelter care rooms, and 99 skilled nursing care rooms, the Villas Senior Care Community of Sherman has a reputation for exceptional care and service and an outstanding therapy program. Building on their impressive standing, the Villas recently completed a remodel in the rehabilitation center. After only three months of service, the improvement has already yielded results… and praise.
The Villas Senior Care Community is known for their personalized comprehensive therapy program. This program, which includes physical, occupational and speech therapy, is known as “Villas Total Rehab” or VTR.
“We always need to have the most updated therapy devices to better meet the needs of the community, so we added a “home section” – or a training studio with a mock kitchen/laundry area,” said Therapy program manager, Lacey Rabbe. “It’s the perfect transition from rehabilitation to home.”
According to Lacey, the training studio has everything patients would have at their own house. This new addition helps the therapists develop the patients’ strength and teach the skills to perform these daily activities so they can return home with confidence.
The remodel started in the spring and was completed in July. In addition to adding the mock kitchen and laundry, which includes a washer, dryer, stove, microwave and refrigerator, walls were removed to create a more open floor plan and makes the area more wheelchair accessible and allows for other activities. A recumbent bicycle, which is adaptable and accessible to everyone regardless of whether or not they use a wheelchair, was also added to the renovated area.
“It really was cramped before, when we had walls,” said administrator Sharon Herpstreith. “Now someone can work in the kitchen while bike therapy is going on across the room and there are no space issues. Everyone I’ve talked to loves having the open space — to have room to spread out.”
The gym is nearby and is a very active area. Patients can find many different exercise options here, but the gym’s frequent use has led to another rehabilitation improvement — the speech and language pathology room.
“We’ve created this new room to provide private treatment,” said Lacey. “We never really had a quiet area before. The previous area was close to the gym, which gets pretty loud. The new room is set apart and provides us with an area where we can determine if there are any speech cognitive deficits and how we can help.”
According to Sharon, the new area more than meets the needs of the community and is one of the many ways the rehabilitation center helps patients get back to their home quicker. Frequently, Sharon hears positive feedback on the results and work that the therapists and patients have accomplished throughout their treatment.
“Family members have often told us that their loved ones return home better than when they came to us,” said Sharon. “Maybe stronger than they have been in years.”
The kitchen/laundry mock training studio, speech and language pathology room, and bicycle are just a few examples of recent upgrades to VTR.
Our goal is to get people back into their home as soon as possible, so we provide rehabilitation services seven days a week,” said Lacey. “Before our patients leave here, we work on a variety of different life skills. The kitchen model is just one tool we use.”
After a stroke, fall, or other incident, Lacey said a client can be left too weak to do routine daily activities. The personal assessment helps her and the skilled care staff design a plan to build strength, increase balance and address neurological issues that affect fine and gross motor skills.
“We have several options, like the Pulmonary Program, to choose from to help the client reach their goal,” said Lacey. “It (the Pulmonary Program) helps patients increase breathing endurance so they can complete home activities. The Energy Conservation program is another one. It teaches them how to conserve energy to clean the home. It may take longer to accomplish than before, but they will maintain independence.”
Prior to returning home, the rehabilitation staff conducts a home safety assessment to ensure the home doesn’t pose a fall threat and is adapted to the resident’s needs. This includes removing throw rugs, switching to hand-held showers, or having a hospital bed in the living room instead of negotiating around in a bedroom. They also provide family members the education they need to make the home wheelchair accessible.
The VTR specialists provide rehabilitation services for several conditions including:
Hip, joint and knee replacements
Cardiac-related diagnosis or conditions
Stroke and other neurological conditions
Sometimes rehabilitation is not only building up physical strength or learning to speak again. Emotional needs are also important, and that’s where Sophie comes in. She’s a mixed breed rescue dog who has never met a stranger. A welcome visitor throughout the rehabilitation center, she provides a unique level of care.
“Sophie provides pet therapy for those who are missing their pets,” said Sharon. “She doesn’t jump and is a big dog. She’s at just the right eye level for anyone in a wheelchair, and picks up treats all day long. She eats more bacon than any person I’ve ever met.”
Residents and patients also enjoy many outings including shopping and dining trips. The men and women groups will often pick a restaurant for their particular tastes, with the men going to Buffalo Wild Wings while the women meet at Olive Garden. The rehabilitation center frequently has outside visitors, such as ballet troupes and church singing groups, who come in to entertain, and the annual Halloween Party is always a favorite as children from the local day care center come to celebrate.
The skilled care area began in 1981, an addition to the vision of Father Peter Mascari, a priest who came to Sherman in 1957. He served the community for many years and became concerned for the welfare of the older parishioners. This lead to developing the Villas Senior Care Community, which opened in 1977 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the area’s elderly health care service needs. The area includes several Central Illinois towns including Springfield, Rochester, Spaulding, and Chatham.
In addition to the skilled care unit, the Villas also offers independent living apartments and cottages with one, two, and three bedroom unit options. Each come with a washer and dryer and your choice of electric or gas ranges. There is either garage or carport parking, and additional storage areas are also available. The independent care facilities also provide social, recreational, and educational activities both on and off-site.
Seniors requiring minimal assistance in their daily living activities will enjoy staying at the Villas Sheltered Care. The elegant setting was designed with ramps, wide hallways, handrails and other safety measures to ensure that family members and residents know they are in a secure area. There are three room designs to select from to meet each resident’s personal and privacy needs. Meals are served three times daily, with snack available anytime. Staff members are on hand to perform daily duties, such as housekeeping and laundry, an on-site salon provides beauty and barber services, and transportation is available for appointments, errands and event outings as well.
“We have an outstanding therapy program, nurses with years of experience, and longevity in staff so the residents see the same faces,” said Sharon. “Our reputation speaks for itself. Coming to the Villas means security in knowing that you and your loved one will be taken care of.”
The Villas Senior Care Community is located at 100 Marian Parkway in Sherman, Illinois. Call 217-744-2299 to schedule a tour, or check out their website at www.villasseniorcare.com.
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