During the recent meeting of the Bensalem Township council, a mother got choked up as she told members about her son. At the age of 24, he was college-educated and working in the architecture/design field. However, his life instantly changed when he was hit by a car.
Suffering a traumatic brain injury and memory loss, he was originally placed in a facility that, said the mother, was basically a nursing home. Since he was walking, talking and doing other things independently, he didn’t need such an extreme level of care. Still, he needed some support, as his mother couldn’t stop working.
That’s when the family found Delaware Valley Residential Care, based on Jacksonville Road in Warminster, which provides a safe haven for those recovering from traumatic and acquired brain injuries who need a little assistance returning to daily life.
At the meeting, council members unanimously approved preliminary and final land development for a new Delaware Valley Residential Care location at 875 Mill Road in Bensalem. DVRC will acquire about 8 acres of the underlying 15-acre property, with St. Valentine’s Polish National Catholic Church retaining ownership of the rest.
“DVRC provides services exclusively to individuals with traumatic and acquired brain injuries,” said counsel Michael Meginniss. “So these are people in our community, for example, who have been in car accidents, or in the military and have been wounded in combat, or experienced other life-changing events and candidly need help.”
The goal of DVRC is to re-integrate its residents back into the community and help them experience as much normalcy as possible. Those who are higher-functioning may work at the local grocery store or attend a movie night at the mall. Whenever a resident leaves DVRC premises, a staff member is with them.
Jess Walker, director of admissions for DVRC, said, “When families come to us, they are looking for a solution. Either they may be faced with having to stop work to care for this individual, or maybe they are declining themselves. So we are that answer to provide the most independent living that these individuals can do, with supervision from our staff.”
The property will be comprised of several townhouses (three private rooms to each townhouse, either all male or female), which include a living area and kitchenette, with the latter’s appliances only turned on as part of therapy. There will be a total of 90 rooms on site. All buildings are staffed by employees when occupied.
Throughout the day, residents can participate in group therapies (physical, speech, behavioral), practice money management (including at local restaurants), make shopping lists to use at the store and more.
“So we’re taking what we’re learning on site and applying it in real-life situations out in the community,” said Walker.
To become a resident at DVRC, there is a lengthy screening process, during which medical and financial criteria are examined. Walker stressed that residents must have some independence, as DVRC doesn’t accept individuals who require full assistance. Payment can be made privately or through Medicaid, if applicable.
Once operational, DVRC will have a gate security outpost at the Mill Road entrance.
Meginniss highlighted how the facility will bring a number of jobs to the area. Additionally, he said there will be 98 parking spots, and the main entrance will be off of Mill, not the more residential Walnut Avenue. There is also a planned improvement to stormwater management.
Council vice president Joseph Pilieri acknowledged that, at first, he wasn’t too sure about the idea of DVRC coming to the township. However, after touring the Warminster facility, he recognized the positive impact this type of environment can have.
“It made a big difference to me,” he said.
The council expressed its wish that veterans and local first responders suffering from traumatic brain injuries take advantage of DVRC.
An opening date has yet to be announced.
Visit dvrcare.com/ for more information.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org