Following $25 million in renovations, Cayuga Ridge, now called Cayuga Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, has undergone significant updates to its interior with work on the exterior to come in the coming months. Once winter is over, the courtyards will be redone and a new sign will be installed.
The response from patients has been resoundingly positive, Director of Marketing and Residential Relations Kevin Dean said. One thing people have pointed out as an improvement of the new building is how it’s much brighter than before. He said prior to the renovation, the hallways seemed longer because they were darker. Adding natural light in the hallways and using brighter paints were two of the keys to giving the building a friendlier feel to it.
“The building, before it was renovated, was so old that it was literally ugly,” Dean said. “The fixtures were old and falling apart. Now, we’re new, we’re brighter. It’s more of a resort feel than just your average run of the mill nursing facility. When you walk into the building it’s like walking into a five-star hotel. The rooms themselves are bigger than they used to be. At one point in time, this was a 260-bed facility. We are now down to 144 beds, using the same amount of space.”
For now, the roofing and gutters have been replaced. Dean said there is some minor work that remains to be done.
Another addition to the new Cayuga Nursing is fitness equipment in their gym designed to accommodate people who have recently had hip replacements. One of Dean’s favorite parts of the renovation is the creation of four satellite kitchens spread throughout the building. This will cut down on the waiting time residents have for meals. This will also keep meals at their appropriate temperatures and improve freshness for residents.
“One of the biggest things that we put in place when we did the remodel is that we have a main kitchen in the building and we are now using satellite kitchens in the dining rooms,” Dean said. “Instead of a food line where the trays come down in the kitchen and you’re putting food on the tray. Then, the tray gets taken off the food line. It gets put onto a cart, the cart gets brought down to the floors. Then, the food is passed out from that cart. With the satellite kitchens, we bring the food straight to the kitchens. It’s already been cooked, it’s on steam tables, but at that point in time, you’re putting food on the trays right there and you’re delivering it within a minute.”
Within the new building, there are now more private rooms than there were prior to the renovation, though some people still prefer the semi-private rooms for the social aspect. More family-oriented things have been added as well. Now there are semi-private areas where families can gather for an intimate birthday celebration or have a friendly game of cards. Plus, the creation of a sensory room to be used for dementia patients, employing different textures, sights, sounds and smells to help patients.
Cayuga Nursing was given tax relief by the Tompkins County IDA and sales tax relief as well. Dean said in the future Cayuga Nursing will be looking for a state-funded grant to turn its currently unused fourth floor into a special wing for assisted living. He added the changes to this building are going to create a better atmosphere for patients and members of the community coming to visit family members.
“One of the things that we’re doing in this building is we’re not just changing the look of the building,” Dean said. “We want to change the way we do business and the way we interact with our residents overall. I think we’re accomplishing that. We’ve rebuilt our management team. We are putting more into training, in fact, we are going to start offering C.N.A. [Certified Nursing Assistant] training to the community. If they want to learn how to be a C.N.A, they don’t have to stay here. They can go to other places and get a job, it’s free training. We’re trying to be the premier facility in Central New York.”