Nathaniel Witherell Takes Big Step Forward

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Chairman David Ormsby addresses the gathering. Credit: Nicola Traynor

Today marked the unveiling of what is just the first success in plans to renovate The Nathaniel Witherell Short-Term Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center, owned by the town of Greenwich.  The new rehabilitation center is part of Project Renew, a plan to modernize and refurbish the facility that has been a part of our community for over a century.

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Former Town Selectman Peter Crumbine and wife Bea, far left. Credit: Nicola Traynor

David Ormsby, Chairman of the Friends of Nathaniel Witherell, Inc., presented Greenwich First Selectman Peter J. Tesei with a check for $1.75 million.  This was paired with the announcement that the Board has raised $9.8 million in funds from private citizens and public sources for the project.

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First Selectman Peter Tesei makes his speech. Credit: Nicola Traynor

The reception was held in the newly renovated rehabilitation center, illustrating just how well this money has already been put to use.  Filled with natural light and bright new equipment, the spacious center provides a comfortable healing environment for its patrons.

“The nice part is it’s no longer all clustered in.  There are now separate suites for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language pathology services,” said Allen Brown, Executive Director.

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Executive Director Allen Brown speaks. Credit: Nicola Traynor

What is now the physical therapy room, equipped with plenty of space and equipment for patients trying to regain the strength to walk again, used to be packed with all of their different resources.

This marks an expansion from the single 1,800 square foot room to a comprehensive wing of just under 4,000 square feet.  “It is now a much more spacious, comfortable area for people to do work,” Mr. Brown said.

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Much of the space in the renovated rehabilitation center has been renovated and reappropriated to best benefit their patients.  The occupational therapy area, for instance, used to be a kitchenette area, and now provides a spacious atmosphere for preparing patients to regain daily skills.  Now, fitted to resemble a home environment,  the area helps patients practice tasks like doing their laundry and setting the table to eat.  Just across the way is a large bathroom area for patients to practice navigating to showers and bathtubs on their own, all of which help the safety and independence of patients after their release.

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In addition to these occupational training resources, the center also features state-of-the-art therapy equipment, modalities, electronic stimulation therapy, ultrasound, fine and gross motor movement activities, and cutting edge testing and intervention for cognitive, speech, and language impairment.  These improved resources will offer patients the very best in specialized recovery and healing.  Additionally, the renovation provides 42 private rooms adjacent to the center that are available for comfortable recovery.

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Louise Puschel, a member on both the primary and project boards, said these changes were “a long time coming.”  Puschel has known the center for many years, and her husband Gerry even received treatment there after a hip and knee replacement surgery.  She observed the promise this renovation brings for Witherell’s future, saying, “This is becoming more of a place to go to for rehabilitation than ever before.”

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The reception marked a proud day for many in the Greenwich community.  Not only did it showcase the exceptional first results of the project, which Mr. Ormsby says have already been put to use by residents, but it offered a glimmer of the potential this renovation still offers to help the ailing members of our community.

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“We would not be where we are without the First Selectman’s unwavering support of Project Renew,” said Mr. Ormsby.  In fact, there were quite a few politicians in attendance.  In addition to First Selectman Peter Tesei, State Senator Scott Frantz (R-Dist 36), and State Representatives Fred Camillo (R-Dist 151), Livvy Floren (R-Dist 149), and Steve Walko (R-Dist 150) were also in attendance.

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State Representative Fred Camillo and his dog appreciate the new facilities. Credit: Nicola Traynor

Mr. Tesei also spoke on the remarkable progress the center had made and all the good it had done, saying, “This place represents the very best of the Greenwich community.”

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Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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