A new home is on the horizon for the residents of one Gainesville nursing facility.
Northeast Georgia Health System administrators have announced their plans to move residents from New Horizons West nursing home to the vacant Lanier Park Hospital campus on White Sulphur Road. They say the new facility will offer more space, better services and an improved atmosphere.
“We want (residents) to have an environment that they’ll be comfortable in, that they’re safe in and that reflects well of how important they are to us,” said Dane Henry, the hospital’s vice president of operations.
New Horizons is home to about 120 residents. They will all be relocated to the main Lanier Park Hospital building, which has sat vacant for nearly two years since the acute care beds there were moved to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s North Patient Tower.
The move will add nearly 17,000 square feet of space to New Horizons.
Details about the move are still being sorted out, and administrators say it’s too early to know when the project will be complete.
Henry said extensive work will be needed to transition the space, meant for immediate care services, into a nursing home. The Lanier Park Hospital opened in 1977 but has been well maintained since then, he said. Still, work like renovating bathrooms, updating mechanical systems and purchasing new equipment, is needed.
“Many (residents) have very complex health care needs, have chronic conditions, so we need to make sure the facility is appropriate and is a safe place for them to live,” Henry said. “That’s what we’re planning right now is all of the facility work.”
He expects that phase to be complete in the next few months.
Gail Patrick, administrator at New Horizons for the last 12 years, said she’s seen the center outgrow its current location.
The single nurses’ station is crowded at shift changes, Patrick said, and some therapy sessions are given in the hallways.
She said the new building will alleviate those problems and also provide for several activity rooms, allowing staff to cater activities to the older and younger groups.
“We’re excited,” she said. “The residents and staff keep asking, ‘When do we get to move?’”
As residents headed to the activity room for afternoon bingo Monday, many said they’d enjoy living somewhere with more space because the hallways and bedrooms at New Horizons can get crowded.
Kathy Louise Barker said she likes to stay busy during the day, especially with exercise classes. Having newer facilities for those events “would be terrific,” she said.
“We have good stuff here, but I’m up to moving if it would do any good for all of us,” she said. “...It’s a good place, but if we got into somewhere else, it would be great.”
Pat Allen, 72, said while her daughter has been trying to get her to move into a newer facility with more room, she’s happy at New Horizons and doesn’t want to leave her friends there. The move to Lanier Park will allow her to stay with the other residents while fulfilling her family’s wishes to see her in a newer building.
“I think it will be good because we’ll have more room,” she said. “...(My family) will be glad that I’ll be moving into a nicer facility.”
The hospital owns the New Horizons building and land, and administrators said they haven’t identified a long-term use for the space.