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Nursing home in the Catonsville area shows off a $1 million face-lift

Westgate Hills Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center has a new look after a $1.5 million renovation by parent company Marquis Health Services.

The 120-bed center, on the Baltimore City border with Catonsville, features an Activities of Daily Living suite — complete with a bedroom and functioning kitchen — designed to prepare patients for a return home by giving them a chance to practice tasks such as getting out of bed and cooking, and an expanded gym with parallel bars, stairs, treadmills, space for floor exercises and hydraulic equipment to assist with physical therapy.

Patient rooms, bathrooms, common areas and the dining room also were remodeled during the project, which started in March.

"It doesn't feel like you're living in a little old nursing home somewhere," said medical director Dr. Daniel Howard. "It's got almost a hotel-like feel."

Marquis Health Services has 14 additional facilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Westgate Hills is its only center in Maryland.

The company held an open house Tuesday night.

When Marquis took over the building in January 2015, Michael Smith, vice president of operations for Marquis Health Services, said the company thought it was a "diamond in the rough." The building opened as Rock Glen Nursing and Rehab Center, a long-term care nursing home owned by Foundation Health Services, in 1996.

"The bones were good on it, but it needed a lot of work," he said.

Westgate Hills offers subacute rehabilitation services, designed for care after patients leave the hospital.

On average, the center cares for 110 patients a day, with a typical stay of less than 30 days, Smith said.

Subacute care is on the rise, Howard said.

"Hospitals are getting patients out sicker and quicker," he said. "The patients we take now would've been in the hospital 10 years ago. They would have been in the intensive care unit 20 years ago."

Vernan Russell, the center's director of nursing, said aesthetics are important to people who are sick, particularly those who are in long-term care, who see the same sights day after day.

"A lot of times, folks don't think of that," she said. "If you're around nice surroundings, it's easier to feel better about your illness or your stay here."

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