“We’re thrilled the community has embraced this project as it has,” said Lynne King, Vice President for Community Relations & Fundraising for the Community Health Foundation (CHF).
When completed, the center will be the first of its kind in the state of Georgia and only the third type center in the country. Chelsey Park will serve both neurological and short-term rehab patients in the 60-bed center.
Construction is expected to take about 14 months, weather permitting, with the facility possibly opening late next year.
Chelsey Park will be located at the old Mountain Music Park off Highway 60 on Crown Mountain.
CHF did not purchase the entire site, just the land where the new rehab facility will be built and a clubhouse already on the site.
The project does not involve housing units that already exist there.
King said many factors led to choosing Dahlonega as the home for the new not -for-profit skilled nursing center, including the availability of high speed fiber optic internet and the proximity of both Chestatee Regional Hospital and the University of North Georgia, along with the beautiful view.
“We’re already talking about collaborating with the (UNG) nursing program, “ she added. “We’re very excited to have the hospital so close by. The setting in Dahlonega is just beautiful.”
When complete, Chelsey Park will offer a range of rehabilitation options.
“We will provide physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language pathology in settings that mimic real life situations,” King said.
The facility will include areas for patients to practice recovering every day skills many of us take for granted. In the “Town Square” rehabilitation area, short-term rehab patients will have their individualized therapy session in a kitchen, bedroom and grocery store.
“They can weigh produce or practice sliding in and out of a booth,” King said.
There will also be a “half car” available to those who need to relearn basic transitioning and motor skills.
“When you’ve had a stroke, even pulling a seat belt across can be difficult,” King said.
Neurological patients with diseases such as muscular dystrophy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Huntington’s Disease and cerebrovascular accident (CVA) stroke will use special assisted technology through a complex computer interface (PEAC, an environmental control system), enabling the patient to control devices such as TV, doors, lights, window blinds and even a lift system through eye movement.
The lift system will allow the patient to move from their bed to the bathroom with little or no assistance. Successfully completing seeming simple or non-eventful tasks for the average person provide those with neurological diseases some independence and a source of pride, according to King.
“The PEAC system is designed to meet an individuals needs,” she added. “A neurological patient will be able to open the blinds, a door and even operate their television.”
Depending on the severity of the disease, a patient could use a keyboard as an environmental controller, or just use their eyes to look at a computer screen.
“If you can look at the letters, it will type the letter,” King said. “It can also speak for the patient. We’re excited to be able to offer this system.”
Community Health Foundation is a non-profit organization, and King said they will rely on fundraising to help furnish the neurogolocial rooms, which cost about $50,000 each.
A fundraiser for Chelsey Park has been scheduled for Cottrell Ranch March 15, 2014, which will be a night of dinner, dancing and silent auction.
“We are hoping to get corporate sponsorships and individuals from all over Georgia to attend,” King said. “One hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to Chelsey Park.”Community Health Foundation was started in 2003 to assist associates and people in times of significant crisis through financial assistance, ministry and counseling, according to their website.
Ethica Health & Retirement Communities will provide support and manage Chelsey Park once completed.