October 30, 2002
Methodist Rehabilitation Center announces construction of long-term specialty care center for severely disabled
By Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—To answer a growing need for long-term care for Mississippi’s severely disabled, Methodist Rehabilitation Center has announced plans to build a $9 million long-term care facility on its east campus in Flowood.
Methodist Specialty Care Center will be a first-of-its-kind facility in Mississippi and will accommodate 60 severely disabled patients who require around-the-clock care. The three-story facility with 60 private rooms is scheduled to open in 2004 and will create approximately 120 new jobs.
“This is a significant achievement for Mississippi and especially for our residents who are severely disabled,” said Mark Adams, president and CEO of Methodist Rehab. “It will make a huge difference in the lives of those who have had to move to other states to receive the specialized care and treatment they require.”
The path for the long-term care center was cleared by legislation passed during the 1998 legislative session. Classified by the Mississippi State Department of Health as a nursing facility, Methodist Specialty Care Center is different from nursing homes currently providing care to more than 16,000 of Mississippi’s frail and elderly, said Bobby Stigler, the new center’s director.
“This facility is designed to deliver skilled treatment and care to individuals with severe disabilities including those with spinal cord and closed head injuries,” he said.
The construction of Methodist Specialty Care Center is a dream-come-true for Sharon Woodfield of Gulfport. “There’s no current facility that wants to take a patient on a ventilator. If you have a traumatic brain injury and your prognosis isn’t good, then there isn’t anywhere in Mississippi for you to go,” she said.
Woodfield’s son, Michael, suffered a closed head injury in a 1997 motorcycle accident. Michael, who can’t speak or perform basic functions, requires constant care. He’s fed through a tube into his stomach.
“I’m very blessed that I’m able to take care of my son in my own home, but most families aren’t so fortunate,” said Sharon Woodfield. “I’ve personally seen so many people who have had to make the heart-breaking decision to send their loved ones out of state to a place qualified to care for them. These families have already suffered a tragic loss and should not be separated,” she added.
When her son was a patient at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, Woodfield said she bonded with other families in similar situations and was horrified to learn that there was no facility in Mississippi for the long-term care of the severely disabled.
“It’s especially bad here, because not only does Mississippi lead the country in the number of spinal cord and brain injuries, but Harrison County leads Mississippi in those numbers,” she added. “I’ve always felt if any state should take care of its severely disabled, it should be Mississippi.”
Adams praises state government for working together to see the project take off. “The Governor, Legislature, Division of Medicaid and the Mississippi State Department of Health should all be commended for following through and making this dream a reality,” he said.
Other features of the new center will include telephones in each room, cable television and access to the Internet. Specialized environmental control equipment will be available for those who need systems that can be voice activated or operated by breath-controlled devices.
Common areas will be located at key places around the building where patients can gather and hold social events. And a specially designed van will be available to transport patients to hospitals, clinics, college classes or just out for an afternoon of shopping or sightseeing.
“Our intent is to provide our patients with the ability to experience life as much as their individual disability allows,” said Stigler. “Those who can complete a college degree will now be able to either go to the classroom or attend online. And others will be able to go outside and experience such things as the smell of flowers and fresh-cut grass.”
For Woodfield, there is peace in knowing this facility will finally be built. “If anything happens to me, this is the only place I would feel comfortable with Michael going to because I know that Methodist Rehabilitation Center is the most qualified to run a place like this.
“I pray that no one will ever need this new facility,” she said. “But if they do, then I thank God it will be here for them.”
For more information:
Rehab facility 1st for state | The Clarion-Ledger
Hundreds gathered in Flowood for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Methodist Specialty Care Center, a one-of-a-kind facility that will provide care for the severely disabled Mississippians.
Mark Adams, president and CEO of Methodist Rehabilitation Center, and Sharon Woodfield of Gulport, an advocate for the disabled, display an architectural rendering of Methodist Specialty Care Center, a 60 bed facility for the severely disabled.
Sharon Woodfield of Gulfport, an advocate for the disabled and the wife of the late state senator Clyde Woodfield, speaks to several hundred people gathered in Flowood for a groundbreaking for a new facility that will provide care for severely disabled Mississippians.