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Wesley Woods was founded in 1954 by leaders of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and Emory University to provide care for seniors unable to care for themselves. The Center began its affiliation with Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center in the 1980s formalizing its tie with the University. In the late 1990s, that affiliation grew stronger and led to an agreement under which nearby Wesley Woods Center came under Emory’s umbrella. Out of this grew the Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, with interdisciplinary training, research and treatment programs for geriatric care. In 2015 it was renamed Emory Wesley Woods Center.
Located a mile and a half from Emory University Hospital on a 64-acre (260,000 m2) wooded campus in Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood, Emory Wesley Woods Center comprises Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, Wesley Woods Long Term Hospital, Wesley Woods Outpatient Clinic, Budd Terrace nursing care facility, Wesley Woods Towers and the Wesley Woods Health Center. One of only a handful of geriatric centers in the United States Emory Wesley Woods Center and the dedicated staff provide care to older adults throughout Georgia and the Southeast.
Emory Wesley Woods Center provides care and research and has a hand in developing how senior care will be provided in the future not just in Georgia, but throughout the country.
Wesley Woods Towers
The first building to open was Wesley Woods Towers in 1965. One of only a few retirement living options in the area at the time, the Towers were the first round buildings constructed in Atlanta. The round shape of each building allows the 201 apartments to be organized into “neighborhoods,” providing the residents a sense of community.
Wesley Woods Senior Living, Inc.
As the retirement housing division of Wesley Woods, Wesley Woods Senior Living, Inc. and affiliates owns and manages the sister communities of Wesley Woods providing affordable, independent apartment and cottage living, assisted living, nursing care and Alzheimer's care at eight locations throughout North Georgia. It is affiliated with both the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and Emory Wesley Woods Center. A non-profit organization, Wesley Woods Senior Living communities provide comprehensive, regionally oriented programs and serve as training and research facilities to address important health issues associated with aging.
Wesley Woods Health Center
As time passed, Wesley Woods’ leadership recognized that skilled nursing care would be a pressing need for its residents living in the Towers as well as in the surrounding community. Out of that need grew the Wesley Woods Health Center, which was completed in 1967. The Health Center provided skilled nursing care and treatment to restore patients to their former living arrangements, as well as long-term care for patients unable to return home. The Health Center was home to a number of prominent Atlantans, including Lena Fox whose life served as a basis for a play and subsequently, the movie “Driving Miss Daisy.”
The building is now home to the Emory Center for Health in Aging, an interdisciplinary training and research center used by the Emory Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health. Through the Emory Center for Health in Aging, Wesley Woods Center and Emory University are working together along with 19 other academic medical facilities throughout the United States to develop teaching methods for future geriatricians.
The Health Center is also home to Emory researchers focusing on movement disorders, Alzheimer's disease and neurology. In 2007, a research neuro-imaging center was constructed on the second floor of the building to assist Emory scientists in these areas of research. Other clinics in the building include the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression, the Emory Sleep Center, an outpatient geriatric psychiatry practice and a geriatric dentist. At any one time, there are more than 150 physicians, researchers and/or nurses working together to discover new treatments, provide care and develop new medical techniques for seniors.
Budd Terrace Nursing Care Facility
As the campus continued to develop, leadership decided an intermediate-care facility was needed. Budd Terrace, named in honor of Dr. Candler Budd, one of those responsible for bringing to fruition a ministry to older adults in the North Georgia Conference, was opened as an assisted living facility in 1972. Built to accommodate 200 people, it became one of the first free standing, intermediate-care units in the Southeast.
Budd Terrace provides long-term care and sub-acute care to Atlanta seniors. The facility has been undergoing renovations over the past few years. In 2006, inpatient hospice services were added to the list of services offered at Budd Terrace.
In September 1985, ground was broken for the $20 million, 100-bed Geriatric Teaching and Research Hospital. This was the first free-standing geriatric hospital in the nation. The stated goals of the hospital are to diagnose and treat medical and psychiatric disorders affecting older adults, to develop models for geriatric services and educational resources and to broaden Wesley Woods’ commitment to charitable care.
The prize-winning architectural design for the geriatric hospital creates a non-institutional feel, with low exterior lines topped with gabled roofs and each patient room opening onto a living-room-like space. The two-story hospital features an outpatient clinic, in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation services, long term acute care, a medical unit and two secure inpatient psychiatric units.
Each year, Wesley Woods provides millions of dollars worth of unreimbursed care with support from donors and foundations. The Foundation of Wesley Woods was created to help ensure that health care services remain available to seniors in Georgia. The foundation works to make possible health, comfort and dignity in the lives of older, poorer adults, and for those whose health problems have left them physically and financially depleted, and for those who are alone.
The funds raised for charitable care have replaced reimbursement shortfalls and allowed older adults who are unable to pay for treatment to continue to receive care. The Foundation has provided funds for the upkeep and renovation of the retirement communities. They also enable the Foundation to provide special care for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and age-related depression.
- Bassett, B.(2001). Three Score & More Aging with Grace through Wesley Woods.