The Wounded Warrior Patriots’ Inn and administrative complex at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth commemorated its third anniversary Feb. 13.
Since the $5.2 million facility opened Feb. 12, 2010, more than 312 service members have passed through its doors, with 10 residents currently calling it home.
The inn is a place where Wounded Warriors of any branch of service live temporarily and receive care, comfort and support while they continue their recovery as an outpatient. The administrative complex concentrates all administrative services a wounded service member may need in one area.
“About five years ago, the command realized there was a need to improve the services we provide for our Marines and Sailors,” said Cmdr. Sean Sullivan, department head of Fleet Liaison. “In particular, the myriad of administrative services necessary to support service members who are wounded, ill and injured, which were spread out across the medical center.”
A plan was developed to concentrate all necessary services in one area, with reconstruction of the entire floor completed in 18 months.
“This project was completed in February 2010, bringing together the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Board staff, disability counselors, Navy Safe Harbor, the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East Portsmouth detachment and finally the Fleet Liaison office,” Sullivan said. “No longer did the service members have to go floor to floor, building to building to obtain the services that they required.”
The administrative offices include fleet liaison offices, disability counselors, Veterans Affairs representatives, Naval Legal Service Office representatives, medical board personnel and exam rooms.
“The ‘crown jewel’ of that project was the construction of the Patriots’ Inn,” Sullivan said. “This transitional-residential space was an important addition to the comprehensive care we provide to the wounded Marines and Sailors. This space is intended for the Marine or Sailor who no longer requires inpatient care but has a physical limitation that prevents them from living in the barracks or independently out in town.”
The inn consists of 13 spacious Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant rooms that are outfitted more like an upscale hotel room than a military barracks. Each room has adequate space to maneuver, safety hand holds, comfortable beds, flat panel TV, Wi-Fi and a desktop computer, to improve the quality of life for Marines and Sailors as they recover from their injuries.
Before the Patriots’ Inn opened, outpatients stayed across the river at the Navy Gateway Inn at Naval Station Norfolk and had to be transported to and from NMCP for their appointments. Some also stayed in the barracks at NMCP, which are not designed for use by people with disabilities.
“I think the Patriots’ Inn has far exceeded our expectations for improving the quality of care for Sailors and Marines as they recover,” Sullivan added.
Though the inn is an outpatient facility, it is located in the hospital to ease a wounded warrior’s transition following their stay in the hospital. The proximity of the inn gives residents closer access to medical appointments, exchange facilities and the galley. Another benefit of the unit is the camaraderie that comes from living among others who have been through similar experiences.
“The treatment has been outstanding here, making sure that my room was set up and they guaranteed that I was comfortable and everything I needed was here,” said Aviation Machinists Mate 1st Class Henry Dudek, a reservist who suffered a knee injury in Kuwait and had to have the joint replaced. “The staff here is outstanding.”
In order to stay in the facility, injured service members must be able to carry out activities of daily living without assistance and have a minimum of three appointments at the hospital a week. The average stay ranges from one to 11 weeks.
The current residents and program administrators celebrated three years of success with a cake cutting and several guest speakers.
Naval Today Staff, February 19, 2013; Image: US Navy