Best Post-Acute Design of 2018: Gaining New Revenue with Hospitality-Inspired Upgrades

Patients and visitors might not immediately realize that Premier Place — a post-acute and skilled nursing center in Naples, Florida — is part of the adjacent Glenview at Pelican Bay retirement community. That’s because Premier Place has a brand identity of its own, with a distinctive look and feel, thanks to a recent comprehensive renovation.

However, Premier Place is very much a part of The Glenview at Pelican Bay, which is gleaning additional revenue, and even new residents, from the refurbished post-acute and skilled nursing facility. 

The project — which was completed in late 2017 and won the 2018 Senior Housing News Architecture & Design Award in the post-acute/skilled nursing category — has helped strengthen Glenview at Pelican Bay’s bottom line, and shows how a clinical environment can incorporate elements of high-end hospitality while maintaining a healing atmosphere.

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The concept

The Glenview at Pelican Bay encompasses 118 independent living apartments in a co-op model, with a board comprised exclusively of residents. With property taxes going up, the board was looking for sources of additional revenue, and determined that upgrading and expanding its post-acute and skilled nursing offering could achieve that goal by increasing the number of short-term rehab patients served. 

“I think [our design concept] really started with the mission statement of the board, which was they wanted the Premier Place rehab center to stand out and be differentiated,” Lorraine Enwright, director of design and associate at THW Design, told Senior Housing News. They wanted it to become an icon in Naples, where when you go to the doctor and you have to have this surgery, [the doctor] can say, you need to go to Premier Place, and not have it confused with Glenview.”

The board also wanted a more upscale, hospitality-oriented feel in Premier Place, as opposed to the existing, more clinical atmosphere. 

With these objectives in mind, the design team developed its concept: a 30-room renovation along with the addition of seven new rooms for short-term inpatient stays, as well as the creation of a new, state-of-the-art rehabilitation suite.

To distinguish Premier Place from The Glenview, the designers created a building with a distinctive radial form, meant to draw people naturally to a blue translucent awning over the entry point. Whereas The Glenview at Pelican Bay’s buildings are a coral-colored stucco with a green metal roof, the new Premier Place is white stucco, but incorporates Glenview’s color palette of pinks, greens and blues.

View of Premier Place's green, blue and coral colored glass window

Upon entering the new Premier Place, visitors find themselves in a hospitality-focused lobby area with retail and a cafe. Beyond this entryway, a nurses’ station was removed and an open-concept living/dining area was created, with plentiful natural light.

Light is also a major component of the new therapy suite. Tall windows let sunlight stream into this space, which includes physical and occupational therapy areas and equipment. The window glass is colored to enhance privacy and keep the space cool; to this end, awnings, sun shields and motorized blinds are in place as well. 

The renovation also updated the community’s long-term residential care wing. Here, the goal was to mix design-forward hospitality elements while maintaining a homelike atmosphere.

“All the furnishings are a mix between very comfortable as well as more resort-like, and in terms fo the comfort part, the resident design committee participated all the way through,” Enwright said. “They requested bright colors, [and] they really looked at every piece of furniture and made sure it was both good looking and comfortable.”

Also in keeping with the overall goal to up its post-acute and skilled nursing game, the resident board decided to bring in a new operating partner. In 2016, Patrick Noonan of Des Moines, Iowa-based Life Care Services stepped into the role of executive director of The Glenview at Pelican Bay. He serves as the licensed community association manager for Glenview’s co-op and is the licensed nursing home administrator for Premier Place.

The construction

Like other recent senior housing projects, Premier Place was delayed due to challenges on the construction side, where labor has been tough to come by. In the Naples area, it was difficult for the general contractor — Lend Lease Construction — to find all the needed subcontractors, Enwright and Noonan noted.

“It extended the length of the construction process, so that was a challenge for the community and team, but really the design weathered through all that pretty well,” Enwright said. “We did value engineering along the way with some roof details, canopy details, to help with cost and get all components built. We worked with the construction team to do that, and the project turned out very much the way we started it.”

Premier Place was completed in the fall of 2017 and shortly thereafter was hit by Hurricane Irma, suffering water intrusion and other damage. Residents had to be evacuated to other sites.

“We had to close a lot of our beds down and do our remediation process, so it further delayed getting us kicked off,” Noonan told SHN. “In January 2018, things really started to turn around. We made all the repairs and saw an uptick in business.”

The completion

Despite the rocky start, Premier Place today is a success story. It is bringing in new revenue, with a high volume of admissions particularly for rehab following hip and knee replacements, Noonan said.

“We’ve developed a reputation and have great relationships with our hospitals, surgeons, our referral sources,” he said. 

Premier Place has been awarded a Gold Seal award from the Florida Governor’s office for its outstanding service, as well as five-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). 

From a design standpoint, Noonan singled out the new therapy suite as a standout feature.

“I think the therapy gym with its large windows overlooking Pelican Bay and the color schemes are very inviting and modern,” he said. 

Noonan also highlighted the building’s new entryway. The THW design team also takes special pride in that, and the overall first impression that the building makes.

“When you pull up and see that glass pattern, it’s a cool building — we think it’s pretty cool,” Enwright said. “It definitely has created that branded look that they wanted.”

Despite its differentiated brand, Premier Place has synergistic relationship with The Glenview at Pelican Bay.

“We’ve had a number of residents who have come in for post-acute care, and they’ve been so impressed, they want to buy into the co-op,” Noonan said.

This result doesn’t surprise David Dillard, principal at D2 Architecture and a judge for the SHN Architecture & Design Awards. Having a larger, more sophisticated and more inspiring therapy suite is a trend that he is seeing across the post-acute space, and providers that can offer this type of space gain advantages in their marketplaces.

“It’s a beautiful building, and let’s be blunt, that’s a tremendous sales feature,” Dillard told SHN.

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