Design Center – December 2001

Westminster Towers
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Type of Facility/Setting:
Executive Director:

Resident Capacity:
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Construction Cost:
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Skilled Nursing Facility
Elaine Guyton
Freeman-White Senior Living
Charlotte, North Carolina
(704) 523-2230
50, 340 sq. ft.

Elaine Guyton, Executive Director, Westminster Towers: “Westminster Towers is a high-rise CCRC located on the campus of a local church and school in suburban Rock Hill. The community was opened in 1989 with 153 independent living apartments, 11 assisted living apartments and a 45-bed skilled nursing facility. After only a few short years of operation, the need for expansion to accomplish our mission and goals to serve both the CCRC and the nearby community became obvious. As ‘pioneers’ of the first not-for-profit CCRC in the area, management and the board of directors developed a strategic plan that included construction of a new and expanded 66-bed health and rehabilitation center, followed by conversion and redecorating of the old space to a more modern assisted living area, resulting in an increase of 18 rooms to a total of 29.

“Our goal from the beginning was to create a beautiful, homelike, comfortable environment for our residents, and we believe this was accomplished. The new SNF is in what some call a cluster design, with 11-resident ‘pods’ each served by a decentralized nursing assistant station, and every two pods served by a bright and spacious dining room, each with its own fireplace. A major advantage of the new health and rehab center is that we now have 30 private rooms rather than 2, and the 18 semiprivate rooms are designed in an ‘L’ shape, allowing each resident to have a view from his or her own window and a lot of privacy, sharing only a bathroom. Other resident-centered amenities include a screened-in porch, a small chapel for private worship or special services, and beautifully decorated living rooms, along with smaller, more intimate visiting areas in each pod.

“While the new design provides a much more resident-centered environment, I would say that operationally, in retrospect, a more detailed ‘hands-on’ orientation for staff would have made the transition from a smaller, traditional nursing home to a larger, decentralized environment easier. On the other hand, we now have new communications technology combining nurse call, hallway TV cameras and hand-held phones that have benefited staff communication and resident service.

“Families and the community in general have given our facility rave reviews. Even the state survey inspectors have commented that they have never seen a nursing home quite like this before, and that was exactly what I wanted to hear.”

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