The site of the Southeastern Veterans Center in Spring City, Chester County, has housed a state facility since November 1908.
In the beginning, it was a school and hospital, known as Pennhurst, operated by the Department of Public Welfare for persons with mental retardation, with 40 buildings spread over 1,200 acres.
As institutional care was replaced by community care, the need for the Pennhurst facility declined, and the Department of Military Affairs took possession of 120 acres of the facility a few days before Christmas in 1986
That followed a search by a special selection committee that began November 22, 1983 for a site for a third veterans home. At the time, there was only the Erie Soldiers' and Sailors' Home and the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home, providing space for approximately 370 veterans. Spring City was designated as the new site on January 3, 1985. Modular cottage units that had been constructed at Pennhurst in 1975 were renovated as housing for veterans needing only minimal (domiciliary) care. The transformed facility was dedicated December 22, 1986.
In February 1990, work began on a project to convert Horizon Hall, one of the 40 buildings in the Pennhurst operation, to intermediate and skilled nursing care for 194 veterans. Horizon Hall was dedicated on May 20, 1993 as Coates Hall, named after retired Brigadier General John B. Coates, a Pennsylvania native and World War II veteran. Coates commanded a number of Army medical centers, including the Valley Forge General Hospital, until his retirement in 1971. After his retirement he had been active in veterans organizations and had headed the advisory council at Southeastern. The large pavilion on the grounds was financed entirely by private donations and built by Pennsylvania Army National Guard engineers. It was dedicated November 8, 1991.
The Southeastern Veterans Center currently accommodates 184 veterans. A dementia unit with 32 beds is included among the nursing care spaces. We anticipate the opening of 54 personal care beds in the fall of 2012.
All residents receive medical, clinical and nursing services; drug and nutritional therapy; rehabilitative services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and recreational therapy; dental services; social services; laundry, transportation, housekeeping, maintenance, security, business management, and related services.
The nursing unit provides 24-hour care, seven days a week. Residents receive a complete range of clinical services under the direction of physicians and other licensed health care professionals.
Additional services of a specialized nature, such as mental health services, podiatry, and speech/audiology therapy, are provided as necessary to maintain a resident's quality of life.
In addition to the other services, the dementia specialty unit provides long-term care in a safe and secure environment.