The main therapy pool that is heated by solar panels on the roof the the Polytrauma Center and the wall of doors open the pool to the outside courtyard.
It’s not your father’s VA anymore as evidenced by just one look inside the Department of Veterans’ Affairs new Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center at James A. Haley VA Hospital at 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa.
There’s a putting green, a two-story climbing wall, and an aquatic center for recreational therapy. Each of the 56 new private rooms has large windows for natural light, lush wood paneling, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, a desk and a large-screen TV so veterans and active duty personnel have direct access to education programs and entertainment.
“It doesn’t seem so sterile. I can see green grass. I can see Busch Gardens from here,” David VanMeter, an associate director at Haley who is in charge of facilities, said as he gazed out a second-story window. “There are different things to look at instead of just four cold walls.”
A two-story, therapy climbing wall is part of the common area in the Polytrauma Center second floor area known as Main Street.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony, which is open to the public, is scheduled Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 1 p.m. followed by an open house.
Bringing the outside indoors is the theme of the new Polytrauma Center. The home-like environment is filled with technology and conveniences to make life easier for patients like a track system in the ceiling so immobile patients can be moved easily from their bed to the bathroom.
And private rooms are carved into neighborhoods with military inspired names such as Duty, Patriot and Valor. The idea is to create a healing environment where patients and their families feel at home.
So beyond the individual rooms along an angled extra-wide corridor, there are day rooms where families can socialize.
Freeze-dried palm trees line the Main Street common area at the Haley VA Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center where patients can relax at the internet cafe. There are cooking facilities and a children’s play area as well as access to an outdoor deck.
There’s a two-story atrium called “Main Street” that is lined with freeze-dried, 20-foot palm trees. The concept is bringing the outdoors inside.
Main Street is filled with natural light. It’s a place where veterans can relax at the internet café or take a turn at the two-story climbing wall.
“You have to think of the veterans on active duty we’re seeing. One day they are in the field. They are serving in combat. They are active. They are young. They have expectations a different generation of veterans may not have had,” VanMeter said. “And now, we’re trying to tool what we provide here to them.”
The hallways are angled so the design doesn’t feel institutional and the 56 private rooms are broken up into neighborhoods with military inspired names like Valor.
Interior glass walls continue the open feeling allowing a view inside the rehabilitation center and the kitchen of the transitional apartment. And it’s overlooked by a balcony. The third floor is where the general rehabilitation and chronic pain patients call home.
One of the hidden gems on the second floor is an outdoor deck. It’s surrounded on all four sides by buildings. But there is direct access to open sky above complimented by wood planking below and planters filled with greenery to frame the space.
A putting green, basketball court and horseshoe pit are all part of the new, outdoor recreational therapeutic activity courtyard.
The aquatic center is a prime example of bringing the outside indoors. The main therapy pool is enclosed on one side with glass doors that can be opened up to the recreational courtyard.
The smaller pool is like a high-tech treadmill that can be raised and lowered for easier patient access.
The recreational space outdoors has a multi-surface area where wheelchair patients can practice traversing stone, brick and gravel surfaces. There’s a putting green, basketball court and a horseshoe pit plus plenty of benches – some of them shaded – for those who want to feel the breeze and sun on their face.
Associate director David VanMeter points to the flat-screen TV that connects patients to everything from education to entertainment.
You can listen to an audio tour of the new James A. Haley VA Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center on WUSF 89.7 FM.
Lush wood cabinets and flooring help the private rooms to feel warmer and more like home.
The exterior of the Aquatic Center.
The circular drive entrance to the James A. Haley VA Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center.
Filed under: Amputation, Health - Physical and Mental, Military families, Polytrauma, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Veterans, Veterans Administration | Tagged: James A. Haley VA Hospital, VA Polytrauma unit, veterans | Leave a comment »