Beaver County Times Coverage

Rochester Manor and Villa residents to have more choices

 

By Marsha Keefer mkeefer@timesonline.com | Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

 

(Reprinted with permission of the Beaver County Times.)

 

ROCHESTER — Mark Kopsack walks the corridors of Rochester Manor and Villa greeting staff and residents alike by name, responding quickly to a resident’s request for an extra blanket on a bitter-cold day, stopping to pick up a paper scrap in a hallway.

 

More than a century of caring has taken place on this block along Virginia Avenue, and Kopsack, president and CEO of the nursing and residential facility, continues in that tradition. But Kopsack and his twin brother, Nathan Kopsack, vice president and COO, envision a new concept — one that transitions “from a medical institution into a person-centered senior living community.”

 

In other words, the residents will have a greater say and more choices in their day-to-day activities, Kopsack said. To that end, a multimillion-dollar renovation is underway with work expected to be completed by September.

 

Changes will be noticed as soon as one walks through the front door, Kopsack said, as the foyer now will become a “community front porch” with a fireplace, redesigned concierge area, new furniture, accents, flooring and lighting. Other renovation highlights will include a grille room, therapy gymnasium, town square, pub, spa, clinic and sun room.

 

The care-giving journey started here in 1899 when Beaver County’s second hospital was founded by a group of physicians in a private home in the middle of an apple orchard, according to bchistory.org. Named Beaver County General Hospital, it had 15 beds. In 1906, a new hospital was built; the house was razed in 1908; the name changed to Rochester General Hospital; and a new wing was added in 1965.

 

The facility closed in the early 1980s, Kopsack said, the result of local hospital mergers to become The Medical Center, Beaver, now Heritage Valley Beaver in Brighton Township.

 

The building was dormant for several years until it was converted into a nursing home in the mid-’80s, eventually purchased in 1990 by Robert Kopsack, father of Mark and Nathan. In 2012, his sons assumed ownership.

 

“It’s a very important historical building,” Kopsack said, “and that had a lot to do with our decision to take this historical building and renovate it, transform it to get prepared for the next 50 years.”

 

Such foresight isn’t only savvy business, but critical to meet the demands of an increasingly aging population, “beginning to burgeon,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging, as the baby boom generation begins to reach 65. The department projected that “70 percent of Americans who reach the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care in their lives for an average of three years,” reported The Associated Press in a 2013 study.

 

The 65-and-older population increased 18 percent since 2000 and is expected to more than double to 92 million in 2060, said the AOA. The proportion of older people varies considerably by state with Pennsylvania ranking fifth with 2 million (California is No. 1 with 4.4 million). Those 65 and older constitute 15.6 percent of Pennsylvania’s total population, an increase of 3.3 percent since 2000.

 

In Beaver County, 30 percent of the population will reach 65-plus by 2030, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures. How their care is managed is of great importance to the baby boom generation, Kopsack said.

 

“They want choice, they want the ability to have more involvement with daily health-care decisions and a much higher level of service,” he said.

For years in institutional environments, everything was built and operated around the institution, he said. The institution told you when to get up, when to shower, when to eat.

 

“It’s been functioning for years and years that way, but it’s ending here,” he said.

 

When Beaver County’s mills were at full steam, many employees worked shifts, some of them the midnight turn.

 

“If you worked night turn for 25 years, guess what time lunch is — 3 a.m.,” he said.

 

Some habits are hard to break, so his facility has to be positioned to accommodate.

 

The facility will feature a grille room with expanded dining options and move toward restaurant-style dining, but it will provide more than just meal service. The kitchen will host cooking classes; a beverage station will serve hot and cold refreshments all day; and the area will be available for private parties.

 

An underused lounge will be converted to a pub, Kopsack said, with a big-screen TV, snack menu and yes, beer and wine.

 

Those requiring therapy following hip or knee replacements will be treated in a new, state-of-the-art gymnasium with cutting-edge equipment. A “town square” set in a streetscape theme will be the facility’s hub, he said, where residents can get information on daily activities and special events.

 

The utilitarian approach to showering and grooming will be replaced with a spa featuring private suites, Jacuzzi tubs, soft music, aroma therapy and televisions all aimed at “total relaxation,” he said.

 

The current nurses’ stations, which Kopsack called “battleships,” will be streamlined and equipped with computerized charting, wireless call systems and centralized services.

 

There are wireless hot spots throughout the building for those residents using tablets and laptops. Rooms and bathrooms are being renovated, including fresh paint, curtained windows, new furniture, wall furnishings and fixtures. In one section, brick walls are being torn down and replaced with translucent glass to create a sun room to be outfitted with patio furniture and possibly a garden.

 

Rochester Manor and Villa, licensed to provide both skilled, rehabilitative and assisted care, has sought input from its direct-care workers, residents, family and friends on the transformation, Kopsack said, putting them at the center of the decision-making process.

 

The shift in philosophy, he said, will take some re-adjustment and re-education from everyone but it’s “what our clients deserve. It’s what they need.

 

“We’re moving toward choice,” he said. “That’s the key … We’re not aiming to get up to speed; we’re aiming to be 25 years ahead.”