Your Questions, Our Answers
WHAT IS THE VETERANS NEUROLOGICAL RESEARCH CENTER
VNRC will utilize state-of-the-art technology to collect data on those who have been diagnosed with dementia, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and other debilitating conditions. The data collected from participants will be used to facilitate research that will be invested into the development of cures and treatments.
HOW MANY PATIENTS WILL THE CENTER ACCOMMODATE?
The Center will have 300 beds for dementia and 210 Extended Stay units for families dealing with Traumatic Brain Injuries.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL THE CENTER EMPLOY AND WHAT KIND OF JOBS WILL BE CREATED WHEN IT OPENS?
The Center will employ over 400 people when fully staffed. The jobs created will run the gamut from physicians, nurses, and other healthcare positions to researchers, laboratory and IT personnel, food handlers, therapists, maintenance workers, activity coordinators, office and support staffers. In addition, the Center will provide job training and experience for people seeking careers in healthcare, business management, facilities management, engineering, statistical analysis, and culinary services.
HOW WILL THIS PROJECT BE FUNDED?
The VNRC is a partnership between Medical Management Group and Cocopah Enterprises LLC. Funds for the project will come from investment banking. The cost to build the Center will be over $32 million.
WHEN WILL CONSTRUCTION BEGIN AND WHEN WILL THE CENTER BE FINISHED?
The project has been in preliminary design for 9 months. Construction on the old Kmart building is expected to start in June 2021 and will take approximately 14 months to complete. During that time it will employ approximately 240 construction workers.
HOW DOES THE CENTER DIFFER FROM OTHER NEUROLOGICAL RESEARCH/CARE FACILITIES?
The VNRC care portion will consist of numerous distinct "villages". One of these villages will recreate the architecture of the past in order to create a sense of comfort and familiarity for those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. This village will feature common storefronts you find in the average American town (e.g., post office, candy store, etc.) The other villages will consist of modern classrooms, living spaces, and recreation areas. In addition, the Center will be a self-contained, climate-controlled environment that can replicate a typical day, setting the time when daylight and nightfall begin. The purpose for this is to abate what is known as "Sundowners Syndrome", which is defined as: "the onset of confusion and agitation that generally affects people with dementia or cognitive impairment and usually strikes around sunset" (caring.com). The research into TBI will be to identify in young veterans returning from deployment the changes occurring in the brain. These changes, which can cause strokes and early dementia, will assist researchers in developing new treatments. This will then be used to help improve lives of stroke patients, dementia and Alzheimer's.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER FACILITIES LIKE THIS?
This village concept will be the first of its kind in the United States on such a scale. The only other care facility like this is located in the Netherlands. The present VA TBI programs have limited inpatient space. This facility will deal with the whole family while helping them on a career path. The young vets and/or spouse will be enrolled in an online degree program and allowed to job train at the facility.