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Northampton County's Gracedale unveils short term rehab unit

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 01 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2012 05:37:12 AM CDT

Gracedale unveils short term rehab unit

UPPER NAZARETH, Pa. -

Officials at Gracedale cut the ribbon on a new, short-term rehabilitation facility Monday.

TheĀ  unit opened officially Monday afternoon. The unit is expected to bring in one million dollars in additional revenue, but the facility will still need financial support from the county.

The people are residents of Gracedale, but they are not staying in the nursing home; they're part of the new short term rehabilitation unit.

"Gracedale has had a lot of empty beds over the last year and one of the things we had to do is find more creative ways to attract people from the community who want to bring their loved ones here and trust us to care for them," said Millard D. Freeman, Gracedale administrator.

Dortha Hudson of Bethlehem said, "The people that I've seen here have really benefited quickly. I've seen them in therapy and in the rooms."

Hudson is hoping she will be one of those patients to recover quickly as well. She's at the short term rehab unit after a bad bout with pneumonia.

"They're so quick to get you moving," Hudson said, "It's like they don't baby you."

That also seems like the goal for Premier Healthcare Resources when it comes to the bottom line at the facility in Upper Nazareth Township.

Just eight months ago, the private company was hired by Northampton County to cut expenses at Gracedale. This after a voter referendum passed and kept the nursing home in county control instead of being sold.

The company has upgraded windows, and other energy saving measures. Some would think adding a new unit is adding money. That is not the case. The workers are current employees offering a different service, and in the first year it's estimated the short term rehabilitation unit will make $1 million.

The unit has been open since May. There are 27 beds in the unit. Currently, 21 beds are occupied.