New Alzheimer’s unit opens in North Strabane

May 19, 2014
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
Flo Cricelli, a resident in the personal care unit, checks out the new Memory Care Unit at Consulate Health Care in North Strabane Township during the grand opening Wednesday. Order a Print
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Emily Petsko / Observer-Reporter
The newly renovated Memory Care Unit for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, part of Consulate Health Care of North Strabane, includes an outdoor patio that wraps around a section of the building. Order a Print

Alzheimer’s patients at Consulate Health Care in North Strabane Township will only be moving to the building next door, but administrators hope the new location will feel more like home.

The newly renovated Memory Care Unit, a secured wing for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, officially opened last week at the personal care home on Tandem Village Road. Patients will soon be transferred to the new unit, which includes a brand new patio deck with a walking path, a dining and activity area and six semi-private rooms for 12 residents.

Those residents currently reside in the skilled nursing facility next door. Paula McDonald, director of admissions, said the previous unit was simply “too big,” and the new wing will be more comfortable and manageable for both residents and staff.

McDonald said the unit has an alarm system to help staff track patients who have a tendency to wander, a common symptom of dementia-related diseases that affect the memory.

“Not everyone is sick in a personal care home. That’s nice,” McDonald said. “They just come here to be safe. I think a lot of people don’t realize it, but the socialization is as important as the nutrition and the medication.”

Even though personal care homes are not required to hire nurses in Pennsylvania, McDonald said the company feels it’s important to have a nurse available to residents. The unit also has the ability to provide hospice care.

Once patients are transferred, administrators also plan to renovate the skilled nursing facility. Administrators believe the Memory Care Unit’s convenient location within the personal care building will make the transition an easy one for patients.

Mary Deems, executive director said, “To actually combine everybody and have them under one roof, it’s going to make a difference to me.”

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.

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