The Archbishop Hannan legacy continues with rehab center


The late Archbishop Philip Hannan had a special vision to care for the elderly when he launched Chateau de Notre Dame senior apartments and nursing home in 1977, and that mission will be greatly enhanced with the addition of a $7 million, 21,000-square-foot wing with 30 private rooms that will allow patients leaving the hospital to make short-term transitions back to their homes.


   The Archbishop Philip M. Hannan Rehabilitation Pavilion at Chateau de Notre Dame, featuring private beds and an exercise area with $135,000 in equipment to assess and enhance mobility, balance and speech, was blessed Aug. 12 by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.


Building on the dream

   Archbishop Aymond said the ministry of Chateau de Notre Dame, which includes independent living, assisted living, nursing home care and hospice services, will be greatly enhanced with the transitional rehabilitation component.

   “We have many requests for services that we cannot always meet, so it was a wonderful opportunity to build another wing to Chateau de Notre Dame in honor of Archbishop Hannan,” Archbishop Aymond said. “Chateau de Notre Dame really was his dream, and we’re pleased to be able to put his name on this new addition.”

   Archbishop Hannan died on Sept. 29, 2011, at the age of 98.

   Wayne Plaisance, president and chief executive officer of Chateau de Notre Dame, said the new facility fills a huge need in the archdiocese’s mission to provide long-term health care for seniors.

   “With the aging of America, we’re seeing a lot of people and a huge demand for services,” Plaisance said. “The changes that have taken place, especially within managed care, mean that we are seeing much shorter lengths of hospital stays. We have state-of-the-art, computerized, assessment-type equipment so that people can come in and get rehabbed faster and be discharged faster to their homes.”

   Plaisance said one of the desirable features of the new addition is that it has its own front entrance and offers a home-like atmosphere, overcoming any possible objections that a person might have in going to a “nursing home.”

   “You’re coming into a private room with high ceilings and a private shower,” Plaisance said. “There’s a window view and a television. The nurses’ station doesn’t look like a nurses’ station. It’s designed to look more residential and not institutional. The purpose here is to get physical, occupational and speech therapy and transition back to home. People coming here for short-term rehabilitation are being cohorted with other people who are doing the same thing.”


Continuum of care

   The new facility is another way of making sure Chateau offers a “continuum of care” that can meet the needs of seniors, Plaisance said.

   “The important thing people need to remember about Chateau is that it’s not just a nursing home but is a continuum of care,” he said. “It has independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and custodial care. Even our assisted-living residents, if they ever need to be hospitalized for some reason and are coming back from the hospital and need some transition time to get back into their apartment, can come to the rehabilitation pavilion.”

   The new facility also will allow Chateau de Notre Dame to convert 30 semi-private rooms to private rooms, which is what families are looking for, Plaisance said.

   The new rehabilitation pavilion will begin admitting patients later this month. The first people to use the facility will be those who are rehabbing now in the nursing home.

   “We anticipate we will see very high utilization,” Plaisance said. “I don’t think there’s anybody else in the community that’s doing this with a stand-alone building. We’re a five-star facility, which is the highest mark available from Medicare.”

   Plaisance said the assessment equipment in the rehab pavilion is necessary because of the increased emphasis in managed care for documenting the actual outcome of the medical services that are provided.

   “The equipment will help us assess people’s balance and it will help us document that,” Plaisance said. “Managed care is demanding that it does business with a high-quality, good-outcome facility.”

   The new center will be staffed with physical, occupational and speech therapists, and doctors and nurse practitioners will be able to make rounds and follow the progress of their patients.

   “Our patients will be actively case-managed,” he said.

   Eight private rooms on the second floor also will be equipped with oxygen and suctioning units in case that equipment is needed, Plaisance said.

Abp. Hannan would smile
   Plaisance thinks Archbishop Hannan would be delighted with the expansion of services.

   “He would see this as a blessing for the community,” Plaisance said. “He was all about service, and that’s what we are held accountable for, because we are here to serve and provide compassionate care and the healing presence of Christ to the people who come here. Archbishop Aymond has continued that. He’s been a real champion to make sure our elders are well served, and he’s held us accountable.”

   The entire Chateau campus also has received new landscaping with automatic irrigation. Plaisance said he is seeking individual donations to install a grotto to the Blessed Mother in a courtyard of the new pavilion.

   The first floor of the new facility will house numerous photos of Archbishop Hannan through the various stages of his priesthood: from young priest to WWII paratroop chaplain to archbishop of New Orleans.

   In the last several years, Chateau de Notre Dame has expanded hospice services to cover a geographical area from the Alabama-Mississippi state line to southeast Louisiana, including the dioceses of Houma-Thibodaux and Baton Rouge. 

Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .   

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