For months, I had watched the construction progress on the brand-new Life Care Center of Ooltewah, Tenn., lying right off the interstate between Cleveland and Chattanooga.
When opening day came, I was excited to take a look inside and see if it really was as grand as I’d heard. I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see it – hundreds of area residents showed up for the open house on Jan. 20, 2013.
Immediately, I was impressed by the entrance, the prevalence of wood, the high ceilings and the open feel provided by many windows and several courtyards. The fountain and stained glass skylight just past the main suite of offices added a beautiful touch, as visitors selected which direction to take at the meeting of the hallways.
Straight ahead is the dining room, activity department headquarters, library and ice cream parlor. The spacious dining room with music by Jimmy Rhodes, Life Care’s director of music services, and a buffet of a variety of fine dining foods, reminded me of being on a cruise.
Moving on to the large rehab gym, there were plenty of tactile experiences to be had. Guests could try the Biodex Balance machine to see how steady they were when standing still, and in the corner, they could get in the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill to see how it feels to walk with 80 percent of their weight relieved.
I tried out the machine for myself and could see how rehab patients will be able to benefit from taking some of the pressure off their joints as they exercise.
As I continued to explore, I caught a glimpse of the model rooms tastefully decorated, enjoyed a massage, took note of the associate training room and took a peek into the in-house physician’s office, complete with exam rooms.
Also impressive was the spa room, where residents in semiprivate rooms will come to shower – quite a luxurious atmosphere with modern tile and plush robes.
I ended my tour in the ice cream parlor for a couple of scoops of spumoni and talked with Clemente Aquino, vice president of rehab practice standards, about the facility’s bright future.
“When you combine the state-of-the-art equipment and environment with education, the patients will ultimately benefit,” Aquino said. “The staff is trained and ready to go.”
Scott Goins, executive director, echoed Aquino’s sentiments.
Associates expect to start admitting patients in early February.
“We can’t wait for the first patient to come through the doors,” said Quinita Robinson, receptionist. “It’s new. It’s exciting, and our feedback from visitors has been really good.”
Life Care Center of Ooltewah is the 26th Life Care facility in Tennessee.