Bethesda to Open New Wounded Warrior Barracks


Story Number: NNS110414-13Release Date: 4/14/2011 2:09:00 PM
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By Sarah Fortney, National Naval Medical Center Public Affairs

Bethesda, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) announced April 14 a new wounded warrior barracks scheduled to open later this summer.

The new barracks are part of many (NSAB) programs, resources and lodging amenities NSAB offers wounded warriors and their families to help them feel at ease throughout their stay and transition.

"The goal is to ensure we provide the utmost comfort to the wounded warriors while they're here," said Capt. Constance Evans, director of the Warrior Family Coordination Cell (WFCC).

The new wounded warrior barracks, Building 62, will offer housing to wounded warriors in 153 suites. Each two-bedroom suite includes a kitchenette, washer and dryer, and a lounge area, which allows outpatients a place to stay with a non-medical attendant. If needed, each room is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.

The barracks will also contain an ''Austin's Playroom," a drop-in child activity center that will provide certified childcare providers for not only those staying in the barracks, but to personnel in need of temporary child care while they're on medical appointments.

The Austin's Playroom project is an expansion of the Mario Lemieux Foundation (MLF), established by former professional hockey player Mario Lemieux in 1993. After giving birth to a premature son, Austin, Lemieux and his wife, Nathalie, came up with the idea for the project, which funds hospital playrooms.

NSAB also has plans to begin building an additional lodging facility for wounded warriors and their families later this fall, said Cmdr. Mark Lieb, director of transition for NSAB.

This 200-bed facility, located in a more secluded area on base, will have single and two bedroom suites. The goal is to provide the flexibility to house warriors and their extended families.

Consisting of ADA compliant bathrooms, each floor of the facility will include a laundry room, day room and a communal kitchen.

The facility will be constructed near Building 141, said Lieb. A new garage, providing roughly 460 spaces, will also be built beside Sanctuary Hall.

When those staying in the new barracks are ready to transition to another housing facility on base, back to their parent command, or home, the WFCC will ensure a smooth transition for the individual, serving as the link between military treatment facilities, installations and services, said Evans.

Outpatients who must remain in very close proximity to the hospital for treatment may be eligible to stay at Mercy Hall, which is equipped with ADA compliant rooms and located directly across from the hospital's main building, said Gunnery Sgt. Susan Anderton, Mercy Hall Marine Corps Liaison Office.

With 98 single bedrooms recently renovated in 2008, to improve quality of life, Mercy Hall includes a Fleet and Family Support Office, a communal laundry room, a lounge area, and an intercom system in the event of a medical emergency.

Service members can stay at the lodging facility until they're medically cleared to go back to their unit, until they receive their physical evaluation board findings or transition into inactive reserves.

Additional services that wounded warriors and family members can make use of include Fisher Houses and the Navy Lodge.

A non-profit organization established in 1990, the Fisher House program provides military families a place to stay at no cost, while their loved one is in treatment. Patients who are medically cleared may also stay at the Fisher Houses.

The five Fisher Houses located aboard NSAB, the most on one base within the Department of Defense, provide 60 handicapped suites, 20 of which are private, but they all include common areas, communal dining, family rooms and play rooms for children, said Becky Woods, a Fisher House manager.

For more news from National Naval Medical Center, visit visit www.navy.mil/local/nnmc/.

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