According to David Claus, Holland Home’s president, consumers increasingly prefer larger living quarters in the assisted living centers and nursing homes where loved ones reside so they can have greater privacy and more space for family gatherings.
The larger private rooms also enable nursing home staff to work more effectively in caring for residents, particularly when using bulky medical equipment.
The increasing portability of sophisticated medical equipment likewise has led hospital architects to design larger rooms in new critical care centers.
“We’re talking about improving our ability to provide care,” Claus explained.
Holland Home is presently seeking state approval to proceed with the Raybrook Manor project.
The company wants to build a four-story, 40,100-square-foot addition to Raybrook Manor to “decompress” the facility’s nursing home floors.
The project would allow Holland Home to turn several existing semi-private rooms into private rooms and to enlarge Raybrook Manor’s remaining semi-private living quarters.
Claus explained that at 166 square feet (12.9 feet by 12.9 feet) , the nursing home rooms at the 29-year-old Raybrook Manor are no longer large enough or adequate for today’s needs.
“We don’t believe that’s acceptable for the future,” Claus said.
“What we’re talking about is the (resident’s) quality of life for the long haul,” he added, regarding the current size of semi-private rooms.
The project, he said, will “well position Raybrook for the future.”
Home to 580 residents, Raybrook Manor offers a variety of residential settings with varying levels of care on its 25-acre campus on Raybrook Avenue.
The campus includes independent and assisted living, a 101-bed nursing home unit and dementia care.
It lies between Woodland Mall and the Calvin College campus in southeast Grand Rapids.
Claus said he anticipates that the Michigan Department of Community Health will issue the certificate of need required to proceed with the project this autum.
He said Holland Home proposes to begin construction late this coming winter or in the early spring.
Occupancy of the new wing would come 18 months after construction commences, he added.
The CON Evaluation Board of the Alliance for Health endorsed the project last month and recommended approval by the Department of Community Health.
Lody Zwarensteyn, president of the Alliance for Health, said he believes the Raybrook Manor project is indicative of what’s to come for long-term care providers.
As other facilities face the same kinds of consumer and operational demands as Holland Home for larger living spaces, he said others in the market may have to look at similar upgrades or expansions.
The Raybrook Manor expansion could represent a bellwether for the industry locally, Zwarensteyn said.
“You’ll find a lot of other facilities indexing to it. This will be a project that they will aspire to,” he said.
Holland Home operates residential care centers for some 1,700 older adults at its Raybrook Manor, Fulton Manor and Breton Manor campuses in Grand Rapids.
The organization is the second-largest provider of retirement homes in Michigan and last June opened Breton Terrace, an independent-living neighborhood and part of the Breton Woods community.
The Terrace has 81 apartments, a fitness center, restaurant, library, woodworking shop, bank, hair salon, computer-learning center, billiards room, an art studio, and 60 condo-style homes.