St. Barnabas care center celebrates new name

Don’t call it a nursing home!

The care center at 2175 Quarry Road is now the St. Barnabas Rehabilitation & Continuing Care Center.

The new name, and red sign at the entrance, was unveiled at a special ceremony on Wednesday, December 9.

“It signifies that we’re moving to a new plateau of what we’re able to do,” Scott Cooper, president and CEO of the center, said. ‘Every time I come here it’s looking better and better. Coming onto this campus and seeing the changes it’s something wonderful.”

The institution was established 14 years ago to provide serves to the elderly through the city. It is located in the St. Barnabas Hospital complex in Belmont.

Currently the long-term care center, which was formerly known as the St. Barnabas Nursing Home, is at capacity, with 200 patients filling the 200 beds. In recent years the facility has shifted its focus from strictly caring for the elderly, to improving the lives of the tenants with innovative rehabilitation and care services.

“We’ve increased our therapy and rehabilitation areas 100 percent,” said Thomas Hughes, chairman of the center’s board of trustees. “Taking the words nursing home out of the picture shows the new direction we are taking here.”

Hughes said he felt the nursing home name no longer applied since the center is accepting residents in their 50s, 40s and even 30s.

“We have a lot more younger people than you would expect in a ‘nursing home’,” he said. “And some people despise the idea of having their mother in a ‘nursing home’, so taking that out is a big plus.

One of the most popular and fast-growing services is the adult day-care, which takes about 30 residents outside the campus to do activities like trips to race tracks or parks. The center also cares for patients with special needs and has 22 rooms equip with special ventilators.

“Definitely the range we have now is not what you’d see in the typical nursing home,” said Alfredo Alvarado, the center’s administrator.

For years the center’s administration heard from residents that they did not like the connotation of living in a nursing home. They also heard that some potential patients were reluctant to bring their family members to the facility because of the stigma attached to the term.

The board had been looking to rename the hospital for the past five years, but changing the name was not as simple as getting a new sign. Since the institution is under the state’s purview, the change took two years of discussion and red tape.

“We were determined to get it,” said Alvarado. “It was really a great fight from the administration, staff and board of trustees, and we’re so happy it’s complete.”

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