The Forest at Duke is thrilled to announce our newly constructed, approximately 108,000 sq. ft. Health Center, which officially opened in February 2023. Introducing the Small House concept to our community, the new Health Center features nine “small houses” that support varying levels of care within our established continuum: Memory Care, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing. Medicare certified services and access to temporary stays are also available. A hallmark of The Forest’s comprehensive continuum of care is residents’ ability to transition to a different level of support as their needs change.
While health centers can often feel fragmented and institutional, The Forest’s new Small House model of care provides individualized care in a homelike setting. Supported by around-the-clock care from a collaborative team, residents are empowered in their decision making, maintaining their autonomy regardless of their health challenges.
The five-story Health Center features 90 resident rooms, including 32 assisted living units and 58 licensed skilled nursing beds. There are 10 private rooms in each Small House, as well as a kitchen, dining room, den, living room, and screened, covered porch.
Dedicated to Assisted Living, Level 100 is our licensed, secure Memory Care household. A beautiful outdoor garden attached to the household promotes meaningful wandering and opportunity for tactile stimulation, with thoughtful landscaping in consideration of residents with memory loss. Our additional Assisted Living households promote resident independence while ensuring support as needed from care partners; Level 200 features 20 Assisted Living residences.
In a setting where trust is key, relationships are at the heart of care.
Beyond the Health Center’s thoughtful, contemporary finishes, what lies within its walls nurtures the long-term well-being of Forest residents in innovative and exciting ways. With intentional community spaces and shorter walking distances—to grab a snack, play a game of bridge, or visit a friend—the building serves not only as the framework of healthcare at The Forest, it also recreates a family atmosphere, inspiring meaningful connections between residents and team members.
Within each household, Activities, Housekeeping, and Dining Services team members work in conjunction with Health Services, serving as care partners to our incredible nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). All team members, regardless of their department, seek and take ownership of the needs and expressed wishes of residents.
As is true in many homes, the kitchen in each household is a place of gathering—a pivotal spot that helps establish a daily rhythm for residents. A collaborative effort among care partners, meal preparation with a culinary presence gives residents a chance to participate in a safe way wherever possible. Amid the hustle and bustle of meal times, the open concept of the kitchen area stimulates visual and olfactory sensory experiences, increasing and encouraging residents’ appetites and supporting their nutrition and health.
The Forest community recognizes the importance of exercising and sustaining the Eight Dimensions of Wellness (emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, social, environmental, and spiritual); therefore all residents throughout the Health Center are provided with opportunities for engagement and entertainment. The members of the Health Services Activities team work diligently to plan and oversee hundreds of activities each month, including musical performances, biweekly art pop-ups (courtesy of the Henry Rogers Art Program), and more.
Important details for resident safety and security complement the comforts of home.
While the quality and responsive nature of our health care services is among our top priorities, so too is the comfort of the residents we serve. The Health Center is thoughtfully designed to include aesthetic features and meaningful details, meeting residents’ needs for consistency and safety.
All rooms are private, and offerings for couples can be made available when possible. Each room has its own European-style bathroom featuring beautiful tile and a number of important safety features, including safety bars beside each toilet. The bathrooms contain no thresholds, and each drain is built into the back of the shower instead of in the center, limiting the pooling of water and effectively decreasing residents’ fall risk. Showers further feature a built-in shower seat, as well as either a handheld or wall-mounted showerhead.
In households providing licensed skilled nursing, a recessed track lifting system improves resident mobility and eliminates the need for manual lifting. Medical pass-through cabinets furnish team members with essential supplies for resident care, offering convenience and timely responses to individual needs.