Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center opens Extended Care Unit

By Renee Rinehart –(Published: Sept. 28, 2017) The newly opened Extended Care Unit will be home to residents in need of skilled nursing care. You do not need to be a veteran to qualify. The Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center, also onsite, houses veterans and their spouses in need on long-term care.

The nine rooms include a bed, cable television and telephone and private bathroom, along with lighting on a dimmer switch. Residents can bring some of their own furniture to make it feel like home. Fresh paint, flooring and window coverings greet the new residents. Every room has a view of either the Spanish Peaks or Greenhorn Mountain and Lathrop State Park. Residents also have access to the outdoor space at the memorial garden.

Nurses will be on hand to assist residents around the clock. According to CEO Kay Whitley they have hired three nurses and two certified nursing assistants to staff the new unit.  Residents are provided all meals as well.

Residents will have private rooms, although a double room is available for couples, siblings or friends.  The Extended Care Unit is located on the west end of the second floor in fully remodeled hospital rooms.  Medicare or private insurance are accepted. Staff will assist families with applications and insurance questions.

“We have more applications than beds,” Whitley said. They will admit two residents this week and two more each week there after.

Bill Hix, chairman of the Huerfano County Hospital District told those attending that the plan has been in the works for years. Back in 2003, he toured the facility with administration and shared the vision of converting unused hospital rooms into space for a long-term care facility.

The Walsenburg Care Center closed in 2008 and was home to 40 senior citizens. An attempt to build a new facility near the hospital proved too costly, so SPRHC moved forward this year with the re-development of the hospital space.

“We’ve come a long way since 2003. I’m glad to see it reach fruition,” Hix told the crowd. “We hope to be filled to capacity shortly.”

Tours of the new unit were given to those attending. RN Sherry Gomez said the unit is needed in the community. Many local families have relatives in long-term care facilities hours away from Walsenburg. This will allow families to be closer together, Gomez said.

The public enjoyed music by the John Mall High School jazz band, while enjoying a piece of cake and cup of lemonade.

For more information call Darla Santistevan at 719-738-4510.