Senior Living Sees Wellness as New Selling Point for Repositioning

Repositioning a senior living community isn’t just about applying “lipstick and rouge” to an distressed property, but rather how a provider can leverage wellness to its advantage to boost occupancies.

Repositioning a community shouldn’t revolve around a “build it and they will come” mentality, says Denise Rabidoux, president and CEO of Evangelical Homes of Michigan.

EHM, a nonprofit faith-based organization, provides a full continuum of senior services ranging from affordable housing to traditional independent and assisted living, skilled nursing as well as home care and hospice.

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“The truth of the matter is that repositioning goes beyond just building a physical plant and hoping customers will come,” she says. “The finished product is the services that are delivered. The physical plant is only part of the story.”

In February 2012, EHM embarked on a $4.5 million repositioning project to transform a struggling 62-bed community hospital into a short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility in Saline, Michigan.

After discovering that the property’s inpatient units and acute care beds were suffering from decreases in its average daily census, EHM approached Trinity Health System, the property’s owner, and asked if it could take over the ailing space.

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“It was an opportunity for us to take on some acute care space,” says Rabidoux.

With the 22,000-square-feet, EHM gutted the hospital down to the cinderblock to create its state-of-the-art rehab center, looking at new innovation in terms of the facility’s therapy equipment and offerings.

“We wanted to put our therapy program on steroids, so to speak, and make a difference in subacute care,” Rabidoux said.

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The finished product of the repositioning efforts birthed The Redies Center for Rehabilitation & Healthy Living.

The facility offers 54 patient suites equipped with private showers, computer desks and wireless internet, as well as a cafe, outdoor walking paths, various fitness stations, even a saltwater aquatic therapy pool.

The Redies Center also employs 20 therapists on-site ranging from personal trainers, massage therapists and nutritionists.

Patients who come to the facility even have the opportunity to receive home care services provided by EHM—a program initiative that has produced significant reductions in length of stays compared to average statistics.

While most length of stays under Medicare Part A is approximately 45 days, says Rabidoux, EHM boasts average stays of 17-23 days directly resulting from its home- and community-based service offerings once an individual leaves The Redies Center.

“We’ve taken an approach so that is doesn’t matter where you are on the continuum, we can pour it in with health and wellness,” says Rabidoux.

Written by Jason Oliva

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