The Liberty County Hospital Authority met briefly Tuesday afternoon to give final approval to the financing and construction of a 5,000-square-foot adult day health-care facility next to the Coastal Manor Long-Term Care nursing home in Ludowici.
After Chairman James Rogers brought the meeting to order, Liberty County Attorney Kelly Davis told with authority members about the loans to finance the $728,000 project, including a low-interest loan of $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The authority would be responsible for financing the remaining balance. With no questions from authority members, a motion was made by authority Secretary/Treasurer Will Darsey and seconded by Vice Chairman Reginald Pierce Sr. to approve the project plans. It then received board members’ unanimous approval.
Davis was followed by the authority’s director of plant and engineering, David Barnes, who provided members with project floor plans and elevations. Barnes told the authority the new facility should be completed by late October.
The floor plans show a layout that includes a common area, therapy room, infirmary, bathrooms/shower, kitchen and a “recliner” room. He said residents’ meals will be provided by Coastal Manor, but the facility needs an area where drinks and snacks can be prepared and stored. Barnes said the only bed in the facility is in the infirmary. He explained that the definition of the facility as an adult day health-care facility does not allow them to have beds. Residents would come there for the day only, he said.
Barnes said the project actually started in 2009. He said the land on which the facility will be built was cleared years ago, but will have to be cleared again due to heavy undergrowth. He praised Long and Liberty counties for coming together to support the facility. Everyone helped make the facility a reality, he said.
“This facility is for someone who needs help, but you don’t want to put him in a nursing home yet,” Rogers said. “It should be self-supporting.”
The chairman said it would fill a need in the community for the families of senior citizens who may not need full-time care and attention but do need someone to watch over them while their families are at work.
Also attending the meeting were District 3 Commissioner Connie Thrift and Coastal Manor Chief Long-Term Care Officer Elise C. Stafford. Following the vote, Stafford talked about the new facility.
“We can only house up to 50 residents at a time, but we can enroll 150,” Stafford said. “It’s much like a day care in that way. … We’ll offer two levels of care at the facility — level one and level two. A way to remember the difference is that level one means ‘eyes on you,’ and level two means ‘hands on you.’”
She said it’s important to understand that the new facility is an adult day health-care facility, not an adult day-care facility, which only offers level-one care. She also said she hopes the facility will be complete by late October, which she called a “doable” timeline.
Stafford said there are patients at Coastal Manor who have left the hospital and nearly completed their rehabilitation program. They soon could be ready to go home, if there’s someone at home to check on them. She said there have been families in the community who already have expressed interest in the new facility. Stafford also told the authority that Coastal Manor’s current billing system is adequate to meet the needs for billing at the new facility, which will qualify for Medicaid after the first year.
“The goal is to keep people out of the hospital and nursing homes for as long as we can,” she said. “We’re going to call it Coastal Manor Day Break.”