At the Hospitals: May 18, 2014

Gifford Breaks Ground On Senior Living Community

Randolph Center — Gifford Medical Center recently broke ground on a senior living community.

For more than two years, Gifford has been working to gain approvals and move forward with the project, which includes the reconstruction of its 30-bed nursing home, the Menig Extended Care Facility, on 30 acres in Randolph Center. Later phases of the project will include up to 100 independent living units and 20 assisted living beds.

The plan also includes renovations at the hospital. Once Menig moves, the current nursing home at Gifford will be transformed into 25 private inpatient rooms. The hospital now has shared rooms.

Gifford earned Act 250 approval for the first two phases of the project — the new 30-bed nursing home and 40 independent living units — last August, and Certificate of Need approval for both the new nursing home and hospital renovations from the Green Mountain Care Board in October.

Gifford opened the Menig Extended Care Facility in 1998 after a local for-profit nursing home, the 53-bed Tranquility Nursing Home, was “closed” by the state for quality concerns.

Menig has won numerous state and national awards for quality, including being named one of the country’s 39 best nursing homes in 2012 by U.S. News and World Report.

The only nursing home in Orange County, it has a waiting list of about 100 people.

Construction on the new nursing home is expected to take about a year. Renovations at the hospital will follow.

Sharon Health Center Expands

Randolph — An addition at Sharon Health Center, the second in six years, was recently completed.

The 2,600 square foot addition was needed to better meet patient demand, Gifford Medical Center said in a recent news release. The project, which started in October, was the center’s final planned expansion.

In 2008, a 2,200 square foot addition was added to the original 2,700 square foot building, adding physical therapy gym space and X-ray technology.

The latest expansion includes more gym space, a third physical therapy treatment room, four new exam rooms, a gait analysis system and wall-mounted flat screens for viewing ultrasounds.

The sports medicine clinic focuses on athletes, who staff podiatrist Rob Rinaldi described as “anyone who is doing a consistent exercise to reach a goal.”

Originally built in 2005, the health center started out as both a primary care and sports medicine clinic, but the sports medicine practice quickly bloomed, Gifford said. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held earlier this month.

HCRS Hosts Team Two Training For Local Law Enforcement

Springfield, Vt. — Health Care and Rehabilitation Services’ Emergency Services Department, in collaboration with the Springfield, Vt., and Bellows Falls, Vt., police departments and the Department of Mental Health, recently hosted a mental health training for emergency personnel at its Springfield office.

Team Two, a recently developed training program, is designed to help prepare first responders to respond to mental health emergencies. Law enforcement officers are often the first responders to such emergencies, and with the evolution of mobile crisis teams around the state, joint outreach is more frequent.

The program trains law enforcement officers and mental health emergency service workers to work collaboratively. Participants learn about mental health statutes and the “strengths, responsibilities and limitations of their counterparts,” HCRS said in a recent news release. “Having clear expectations and clear lines of communication between law enforcement and mental health crisis teams will enhance their ability to help a person having a mental health crisis.”

The training was attended by the Vermont Department of Mental Health Commissioner and staff, community mental health providers, local police and sheriff’s departments, and Vermont State Police officers. Participants said they hoped to continue to collaborate amongst departments “in order to improve outcomes for individuals experiencing distress.”

— Compiled by Aimee Caruso