Breath of fresh air: New ventilator unit at Milford Wellness Village fills need

By Tim Mastro
Posted 6/23/22

MILFORD — Lon Kieffer stands behind a long desk on the second floor of the Milford Wellness Village and gestures to where the view leads.

The open concept allows him to see into 14 newly renovated rooms, which will house breathing machinery when the village’s ventilator unit opens Monday.

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Breath of fresh air: New ventilator unit at Milford Wellness Village fills need

Posted

MILFORD — Lon Kieffer stands behind a long desk on the second floor of the Milford Wellness Village and gestures to where the view leads.

The open concept allows him to see into 14 newly renovated rooms, which will house breathing machinery when the village’s ventilator unit opens Monday.

“I would love if every nurse in the state could see this,” Mr. Kieffer said.

The facility will be called “Spiritus,” a Latin word for “spirit” or “breathing.”

It occupies the same space the ICU did at Bayhealth’s former Milford Memorial Hospital, which has now become the Wellness Village. It is right down the hall from the Polaris Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, designed for nursing home care, as well as short-term rehabilitation.

It joins other tenants like PACE Your LIFE and the Kent/Sussex Assistive Technology Resource Center.

When the unit opens, it will be the first of its kind in the area.

“One of the biggest ideas conceptually for the village was to fill gaps, and this is a huge gap,” Mr. Kieffer said. “There’s no services like this ventilator unit service below upstate Delaware.”

Meir Gelley, president of Nationwide Healthcare Services, which bought the 266,000-square-foot campus in 2019, agreed.

“We’re here to help, not to be a competition,” he said. “I have yet to have somebody here saying, ‘You’re taking away my business’ or ‘You’re hurting us’ or ‘You’re duplicating us’ yet. Everything that we’re doing ... enhances the community. We created programs that were needed for the community.”

Mr. Gelley added that the ventilator unit, part of Polaris, will be comprised of respiratory therapists, nurses, physicians and specialists who will determine a resident’s capacity for ventilator weaning and rehabilitation services. Each patient will have a individualized care plan to help reach desired outcomes and improve overall quality of life, he said.

The design of the unit, with all rooms in view of the main desk, allows staff to safely monitor and interact with all clients, Mr. Gelley said. Each room has a ventilator hookup on both sides of the bed, so it won’t have to be moved once a patient arrives.

The unit will treat those facing ventilator/tracheotomy dependency due to respiratory failure, neuromuscular disorders, cardiac disorders, post-op weaning failure, motor vehicle accidents, neurological disorders, multiple sclerosis, chest injuries and complications from pulmonary disorders.