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Patients ‘Almost Home’ in transitional living suite

Farragut Health Care Center celebrated the opening of its new transitional living suite “Almost Home,” with an open house Tuesday, Feb. 8.

The suite, a collaborative effort between the Case Management Department and Hallmark Rehabilitation Services of Lawrence Health Care, is the first of its kind in the area.

Raj Patel, director of operations for Hallmark Health Care said, “The only other facility that has a transitional living suite is Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center.”

The suite was formerly two patient rooms, which housed four beds. Patel said the health care center was willing to give up income generated by these rooms in order to build this facility.

“We feel that the transitional living suite is that important,” he said.

Noting that building the suite was a labor-intensive process, Patel said all that were involved felt a great sense of accomplishment and are proud to offer this service to the community.

Farragut Health Care Center was able to enlist sponsorship from Patterson’s Appliances; Aaron’s Rents and Sells, Kitchen Sales Inc. and The Home Dept.

Almost Home is a fully functional replica of an apartment designed to prepare patients for a safe discharge from a hospital stay or rehabilitation.

The suite encompasses four areas of training: the kitchen/dining area, the living area, the bathroom and the bedroom.

“We ask the patient and the family members what tasks the patient will have to do once they are home,” Patel said. “Those are the skills that the patient performs in the transitional living suite.”

The patients work with physical, occupational and speech therapists to ensure that they are physically capable of doing household tasks once they return home.

“If cooking is something the patient would normally do, the therapist will have the patient cook an entire meal,” he said.

Patel said the therapist monitors the therapy session closely and focuses on safety issues such as handling sharp knives and using the oven.

“We don’t want the patient to re-injure themselves and end up back in the hospital,” Patel said.

Farragut Health Care Center gathered comments from area patients and their family members who were faced with the challenge of returning home. While most patients said they believed they were ready to return to their usual lifestyle, in reality they found the everyday chores were the most difficult and created the greatest potential for injury.

“Getting in and out of a recliner or bathtub requires a great deal of strength for someone who is recovering from an injury, stroke or surgery,” Patel said.

He noted the time spent in the transitional living suite was individual to the patient.

“Some patients may spend only a few hours in the suite and be ready to return home,” he said. “Others may have to make several visits in order to get their strength and endurance up to where it needs to be.”

Hospital personnel, caseworkers, discharge managers and doctors prescribe the therapy for the patient and health insurance and Medicare cover expenses for the rehabilitation.

The suite has an entrance at the back of the health care center and is in close proximity to a nurse’s station.

For more information about the transitional living suite at Farragut Health Care Center, call 865-966-0600.


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