Grand Opening Ceremony held for Abernethy Laurels Health and Rehabilitation Center

Artist’s rendering of the new center.

United Church Homes and Services (UCHS) has a rich history of caring for senior adults in North Carolina and Virginia. Abernethy Laurels, a UCHS continuing care retirement community in Newton, N.C., held the ribbon cutting and grand opening of a new Health and Rehabilitation Center on their 120-acre campus, which will be marketed as North Manor. North Manor is phase I of an extensive $26-million replacement project; phase II of the project will begin this fall.

The design of the new two-story North Manor includes 48 private resident rooms on each floor, organized into six households. Each resident room features a private bathroom with a barn door that allows for ease of entry and exit. Upon opening North Manor, two of the first-floor households will be designated to serve short stay or transitional rehabilitation patients, and two of the second floor households will be used to serve those in need of memory support. The other two households will be home primarily to long-term residents.

Each household serves 16 residents, arranged in two clusters of eight units each that surround common living/dining/activity/kitchen spaces designed in a residential vernacular to evoke a feeling of “home.” This compact arrangement places each resident close to the common spaces and encourages interaction, participation and fellowship with their neighbors and with staff. Ancillary spaces include a therapy gym that opens onto a rehabilitation courtyard, a finishing kitchen, and administrative support spaces. The exterior is designed to create a character that blends well with the architectural vocabulary of the campus and to create a residential feel. This is achieved with two-tone brick, lap siding, white trim, gabled and hipped roofs with architectural shingles and traditional styled windows and doors. Covered, screened-in porches adjacent to each household provide the residents with access to the outdoors and enhance the exterior image. Sensitive planting throughout will, over time, provide natural beauty and integrate the new building into the lush campus landscape.

The ground breaking ceremony for Abernethy Laurels new Health and Rehabilitation Center took place in November 2015.

The interior of each of the six households within North Manor embraces its own design aesthetic and is consistent with a progressive design. Interior finishes, textures and colors were developed to accentuate a residential character and feel while still complementing the interior and exterior architecture. All furniture and fabrics were selected to create a custom residential look, while still maintaining the appropriateness for older adults in a healthcare environment. All six households have a different design pallet so that each is differentiated as a unique space while still maintaining continuity throughout the entire building. Extensive research and visual listing exercises were conducted to ensure the interior spaces met functional criteria. The interior space was designed to promote the health and well-being of the residents by encouraging mobility and social interaction. The building finishes, lighting, furnishings, artwork and decorative accessories work together to create a welcoming, inviting and comfortable environment for all who visit.

Other unique features include spas with heated towel racks, individual thermostats in resident rooms, complementary Wi-Fi and cable television, dimmer lighting, at-your-request dining and room service, furnished screen porches, and added security monitoring.

As community leaders, residents, families and guests gathered at the grand opening celebration and anticipated the preview of the Health and Rehabilitation Center, United Church Homes and Services President and CEO Lee Syria had these remarks to share: “We are excited to be here and to open this new state-of-the-art building,” Syria said. “The new building design will position Abernethy Laurels to respond to changing needs of our area seniors for years to come. We are grateful for the support of our residents, community, and local and statewide foundations, who generously donated to the capital campaign, raising $3.6-million to seed the funding for this project. We are thrilled to share with you today a vision that has become a reality. Soon we will be ready to begin Phase II and complete the final phase of the expansion.”

The new Health and Rehabilitation Center at Abernethy Laurels will replace the existing center, which was built in the early 1970s under the medical model that guided the development of long-term care at that time. Today’s person-centered approach to long-term care shapes the environment, organizational structure and interpersonal relationships with residents, allowing for focus on resident care, empowerment, privacy and lifestyle choices.

United Church Homes and Services currently operates 11 programs: three continuing care retirement communities, seven HUD 202 affordable housing communities, and one Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The home office and UCHS Foundation complete the organization.

For additional information, contact Joy Cline at 465-8014 or visit United Church Homes and Services’ website.

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