Security wing will help patients with dementia |

Security wing will help patients with dementia

Luke Graham

Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehab soon will open a wing designed for security — a wing some people say is much needed.

“It will be care-designed specifically for patients with Alzheimer’s and related dementia,” admissions coordinator Chris Nicholson said. “That takes a load off of the loved ones.”

The new portion of the facility received written approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment last week. Patients will begin being accepted Aug. 1.

Under CDPHE guidelines, the facility had to meet structural and staff requirements.

The secured wing, named Reflections, is a 10-bed unit designed to not only meet the needs of patients with Alzheimer’s but also patients who are a danger to themselves from habitually wandering.

Nicholson said the unit will have many features that cater to the needs of the patients.

He said the unit will see increased staff who have gone through special training to work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

“(The staff) is 17 percent higher on average than any other nursing home across the state,” he said.

Along with the heightened staff, Nicholson said the facility also will provide a specific diet, secured courtyard and appropriate activities.

Reflections, the only secured unit in Northwest Colorado, is part of the existing structure. A recently-built partition and doorway separate the unit from the remainder of the building.

Although the 10-bed unit may seem a little small, Nicholson said, it will benefit the patients.

“Ten residents is a good number,” he said. “It’s nice to be small and better to get one-on-one interactions with the patients.”

Regina Grinolds, who is a case manager for Northwest Colorado Options for Long Term Care, said the facility will fill a need in the community.

The next closest secured facility is in Rifle, but Grinolds said its focus is serving war veterans.

Other close facilities include Palisade and Carbondale. During the past year, she said she has seen five people who could have benefited from the facility.

“Proximity of other secured units has been an issue,” she said.

According to the Colorado Alzheimer’s Association Web site, more than 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s live with family members, and the average lifetime cost to take care of a person with Alzheimer’s is $174,000.

With the cost of taking care of a loved one or traveling to visit them, Grinolds said the new facility will provide caretakers another option.

She stressed that the facility is not for everyone, but for people with extreme cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Before entering the unit, possible patients will be reviewed by a doctor and the Sandrock Ridge board.

Nevertheless the facility will provide a relaxed environment and much-needed resource for families.

“I’m excited,” she said. “This gives families more of an option. It will allow (caregivers) to have their loved ones close.”

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