Open House for proposed new Burien mental health care home will be Jan. 10


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A new long-term care facility for individuals with mental health needs is being proposed to be opened at 2108 SW 152nd Street in Burien (map below), and owners Noble Healthcare will be holding an Open House on Thursday, Jan. 10, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

This free, open event will be held at the future site of the “long-term care home for individuals whose mental health needs make it difficult for them to thrive in a traditional nursing home/assisted living,” organizers said. “During the meet and greet we hope to meet neighbors and future partners, gather input, and answer any questions.”

The home – which (pending sale/approval/permitting) is projected to open in late 2019/early 2020 – apparently will be located in a former office building next to the Seahurst Post Office, kitty-corner from St. Francis of Assisi School and near two Montessori schools. The “CRI” building, which was built in 1987, was recently listed for sale at $1,495,000. The property features an 11,993 square foot lot, and 6,313 square feet of living space.

Owners say that this new facility will provide 24/7 licensed nursing care to 16 residents to age in place, with a staffing ratio of at least 1 staff to 4 residents.

“These are high ratios for a nursing home, and are designed to ensure that residents have ample opportunity to go out and be a part of the community while having the accompaniment support they need to have meaningful experiences and interactions,” they said.

“We are in the process of finalizing the purchase of the building, permitting, etc. There will be some significant renovations to the inside of the building, while the outside will remain largely unchanged. We anticipate completing the renovations late 2019,” they added.

We first heard about this new facility on a Facebook post, which has garnered a somewhat passionate response from concerned residents, including comments assuming that this will be some kind of drug treatment center or low-income housing, and that it might endanger the nearby school children (St. Francis of Assisi School is very close):

“Why is Burien on the receiving end of all low-income, no-income housing?

“Lets be honest about it…”i don’t want that kinda business in my neighborhood”

“I think it will be great contribution for the community, but not across the street from a school.

“The company that I work for has a couple of buildings similar to this. Properly run, they are a very minimal danger to the community and a real benefit to the residents. They are overseen 24/7. Residents are monitored to make sure meds are taken and the staff is well trained to spot problems before they happen. I feel perfectly safe having them across the street from me.

“And now this “Behavior Health Support” facility located in a residential neighborhood?

“Why is this happening to Burien? Why is this not being talked about?”

“This isn’t a drug treatment facility or half way house,” co-owner Zachary Wester told The B-Town Blog on Wednesday, Dec. 26. “It is a nursing home for individuals whose mental health needs make it difficult to be placed in a traditional nursing home.”

Here’s more info directly from Noble Healthcare:

Noble Healthcare is hosting a meet and greet from 5:30-6:30pm on January 10th at 2108 SW 152nd Street in Burien – the future site of a long-term care home for individuals whose mental health needs make it difficult for them to thrive in a traditional nursing home/assisted living. During the meet and greet we hope to meet neighbors and future partners, gather input, and answer any questions.

Noble Healthcare is a family-owned nursing home operator. We currently operate two care centers – one in Tekoa, Washington and the other in Cashmere. Both homes specialize in providing long-term care to individuals whose increased physical needs require 24-hour care, but who also face mental health diagnoses that make it difficult for them to receive that care in a regular nursing home. Well trained caregivers, licensed nurses, mental health workers, and doctors work together with the resident and their families/representatives to develop care plans that help these individuals thrive in an environment that is as homelike as possible, and where their special needs can be met throughout their aging process.

Mental Healthcare is a work in progress. The vast majority of residents we care for have long histories of failed placement in other care settings. Often they have bounced between nursing homes, acute care hospitals, and Western/Eastern State hospitals. The mandate of care facilities like ours is to break that cycle. We work with the State hospital to ensure patients that have been stabilized are discharged into a setting where they continue to receive the specialized support they need to function at the highest physical and mental level possible. The home in Burien will take on that same mandate.

The home in Burien (we’re still trying to think of a name and would love some input!) will provide 24/7 licensed nursing care to 16 residents to age in place, with a staffing ratio of at least 1 staff to 4 residents. These are high ratios for a nursing home, and are designed to ensure that residents have ample opportunity to go out and be a part of the community while having the accompaniment support they need to have meaningful experiences and interactions.

We are in the process of finalizing the purchase of the building, permitting, etc. There will be some significant renovations to the inside of the building, while the outside will remain largely unchanged. We anticipate completing the renovations late 2019.

We have seen some community discussion surrounding the home in Seahurst. Mental health definitely faces a serious stigma. In most of those discussions it has been really heartening to see so many community members working to dispel the stigma and educate others in an empathetic way. There are definitely some concerns being shared as well, I wanted to take this opportunity to address those:

Is this a drug treatment, opioid treatment, half-way house, or chemical dependency clinic? (From Facebook – Take Back Burien Page)
No, this is a long-term care home where individuals with the need for around the clock physical/medical assistance, and who cannot otherwise be served in other residential care settings due to high mental health needs, can age-in-place and receive nursing care.

Will the chemically-dependent be treated at the facility? (From Facebook – Take Back Burien)
The mandate of care facilities like ours is to provide a “placement option for individuals whose complicated personal care and behavioral challenges do not rise to a level that requires an institutional setting. Individuals are referred to an ESF if they are coming out of state and community psychiatric hospitals or have no other placement option due to their complex behavior, medical, chemical dependency and/or mental health needs.” 70.97 RCW

Individuals discharging from a prolonged hospitalization to a care center like ours will not be active illicit drug users. They will not have had access to illegal substances as an inpatient and would not be deemed ready to discharge if they were actively using illicit drugs. They may, however, have chemical dependency in the form of medication regimens addressing their mental health needs, that a traditional nursing home may not be equipped to handle.

In our experience it is very common to have patients referred to us who, while not actively abusing drugs, have a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse. We unabashadley care for these individuals. Continued counseling and treatment related to historical substance abuse is offered where needed or wanted, and supervision in the facility negates the likelihood of a resident gaining access to illicit drugs.

What type of people will be cared for at the home?
Again, our mandate is to work with the State hospital to ensure patients that have been stabilized are discharged into a setting where they continue to receive the specialized support they need to function at the highest physical and mental level possible.

Our residents struggle with issues like advanced dementia, developmental disabilities, brain injuries, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorders, personality disorders, and anxiety disorders.

Is it a good idea to have this home located near schools? (From several community members)
Any care facility has to ensure that it can adequately meet the needs of any resident admitted, and that that resident is not a threat to the community. Being so close to schools will most definitely be a major consideration in evaluating potential residents. For example individuals with a history of sexual offense would not be appropriate to the community and location and would not be admitted.

Noble Healthcare operates two other locations (one in Tekoa, WA and one in Cashmere) that serve the same demographic of residents needing highly specialized mental health care. At these locations we have strong relationships with neighboring schools and host regular visits from classes. These interactions are very uplifting and benefit the residents and the children. We would hope to continue that tradition in Burien.

I myself will have a 2nd grader, kindergartener, and preschooler attending school in the community. I would never do anything that would put them at risk.

You can check out some of the activities we’ve had with schools at https://www.facebook.com/tekoacare/

What type of insurance will be accepted? (From Facebook)
This is a special medicaid/medicare program. Residents will be covered by one of those programs.

How will this impact parking?
As part of the permitting process an independent parking and traffic study was completed by an independent engineering firm. To summarize the results, there will be a net decrease in traffic and parking as compared to the sites current use.

We look forward to meeting all of you and being a part of the community. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions we look forward to meeting you on the 10th or you can contact us any time.

– Zachary Wester
[email protected]

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