Southern Trace Rehabilitation Center, located at 22515 Highway South in Bryant, is not the average nursing home.
Guests walking in might feel they are entering a hotel. Although creating a beautiful atmosphere is important to the staff, the care of the people inside takes priority.
“First and foremost, we want to provide quality care,” said Nancy Brown, executive director of Southern Trace. “But we also want to promote independence and make sure the residents have choices and those choices are met.”
The Southern Trace staff aims to take out the institution element of nursing homes.
Brown feels an important part of her job is to show the residents respect and treat them as individuals. She thinks much can be learned from the elders.
“There are residents here who are in their 90s. We had one turn 103 recently. They have seen the world evolve in their lifetime,” Brown said. “I love to hear about their joys, triumphs, challenges.”
There were struggles that this generation cannot understand, Brown said.
This week, Southern Trace will open a newly renovated wing that will offer a separate area for nonresidential patients.
Elders who have had an injury or illness may come to the center to stay after leaving the hospital but before returning home.
A door with a keypad entry will separate the rehabilitation center from the nursing home.
The new wing boasts its own dining and exercise area and will offer four private rooms.
Each room has a flat- screen TV and large closet.
Elements of the new area are a clear display of what sets Southern Trace apart from some other nursing homes, its embracing of “culture change.”
Another display of this are the choices given to residents. They choose when they get up and when they bathe, Brown said.
Meals are served on plates, not trays, and residents are given a choice of entrees. There are usually two options, and if the residents ask for something different the staff goes and gets it from the kitchen, Brown said.
The staff ensure that the residents get to do what they want to do. They regularly go to movies, out to eat and shopping. One group of ladies recently went to see “Magic Mike.”
“We want to get elders back out in the community,” Brown said.
The center has even implemented a “bucket list” program, which allows residents to complete an activity they have on their dream list.
The Southern Trace staff goes beyond typical care and even aims to pamper its residents, offering a TV set next to the bathtub.
“The staff goes so far above and beyond what is expected,” Brown said.
For example, a staff member purchased out of her own pocket a special lotion a resident said she liked.
The staff feel like the residents are family. They are their caregivers every day of the week.
“A lot of times they think of the residents as their grandparents,” Brown said.
When a new resident enters the center, the staff welcomes he or she to the family, Brown said.