New Westminster Village unit eases transition between hospital, home

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Westminster Village resident Bill Hill of Dover goes through therapy exercises in the center’s new Transitional Care Unit with therapy director program manager Josh Young Friday afternoon. (Delaware State News photos/Dave Chambers)

DOVER –– Older adults in Kent County now have the opportunity to recover in comfort before returning home at Westminster Village’s new Transitional Care Unit (TCU) in Dover.

“This is a project four years in the making,” said Mary Ann Poling, executive director of Westminster Village. “We want to be the good neighbors in our community and do our best for our residents, patients and staff.”

The TCU is intended for patients after they leave the hospital but while they are still in need of medical care that cannot be provided independently at home.

Westminster’s TCU is the first of its kind in the area and has been working in collaboration with Bayhealth Kent General and Milford Memorial hospitals.

The unit is equipped with 14 private rooms, each with its own bathroom featuring heating elements and shower seats, a shared living room with a TV

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A resident is helped by a therapist in the Transitional Care Unit at Westminster Village.

and fireplace and restaurant or in-room dining options.

Before construction got underway in January, Westminster consulted with local doctors of various specialties to ensure the facility would have the proper amenities for individuals recovering from a wide array of injuries and illnesses.

“In many cases, patients in the TCU will be recovering not only from something like an injury or surgery but will have another condition as well that requires additional attention,” Ms. Polling said.

That’s why each room has its own medication storage unlike in hospitals where nurses are necessary to dispense medication. The patients in the TCU will be able to administer all their own medication, making the experience feel a little more like home.

Patients won’t only be enjoying the comfort of modern bedrooms and bathrooms, they will also be attending therapy in a rehabilitation space that is 78 percent larger than the previous space with staff consisting of physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapists.

Ms. Poling said that before someone is admitted to the TCU, goals will be set to ensure that they are strong enough to return home and live independently. That’s why there isn’t just new exercise equipment in the rehab area, but also a functioning kitchen and bathroom.

“We use the discharge goals so they are prepared to go home,” Ms. Poling said.

“If they have a tub, we have the bathroom for them to practice getting in and out on their own and we have a kitchen so they can regain the ability to put dishes away or any of the other tasks they may regularly do at home.”

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Assistant director Larry Kuczma of Dover stands inside the new dining room inside the transitional care unit at Westminster Village Dover.

The rehab center is open and staffed seven days a week so all TCU and short-term care residents can stick with a strict regimen and have a speedy recovery.

Westminster is working on obtaining a permit to open the rehab center to outpatients as well.

The TCU isn’t the only thing new to the community –– a short-term care facility with both private and semi-private rooms will be opening soon.

Before being admitted to the TCU or short-term care facility, patients must have a physician referral. Doctors will work with Westminster’s TCU liaison to develop a plan to get the patient healthy. Recovery is a process that takes a team approach so nurses and therapists at the TCU will work together to help patients reach their goals needed to return home.

More information about Westminster and the TCU at 1175 McKee Road can be or by calling 744-3515.

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