Groundbreaking Ceremony for Healthcare Center

November 24, 2015

United Church Homes and Services (UCHS) has a rich history of caring for senior adults in North Carolina and Virginia.  Abernethy Laurels, a UCHS continuing care retirement community in Newton, held a ceremonial groundbreaking today for an approximate $26 million healthcare center replacement project.

The Abernethy Laurels Healthcare center project will provide a new two-story, steel framed nursing building adjacent to the existing nursing building at Abernethy Laurels, to include a total of 96 private nursing beds and related common areas.  Both 48 bed floors will be organized into three households of 16 private beds each.  Each household is to include living and dining spaces, designed within a residential setting and the ability for management to offer specialized services, such as memory care or rehabilitation care, based on consumer demands.  In contrast to the skilled nursing environment, residents will experience the household model of care.  The household model adopts a person-centered approach to care, focusing on resident empowerment, privacy, and lifestyle choices.  Each household will provide a community setting that is the resident’s home, with common areas equipped with living and dining areas.

“We are excited to get this project underway,” shared Lee Syria, President and CEO of United Church Homes and Services.  “The project, with construction set to begin in December 2015 and be completed by summer of 2017, will position Abernethy Laurels to respond to changing needs of our area seniors for years to come. We are grateful for the support of our residents, community, and local and statewide foundations, who generously donated to the capital campaign raising $3.6 million dollars to seed the funding for this project.” Most of the existing healthcare center was built in the early 1970s, making it the oldest long-term care facility in Catawba County. When Abernethy Laurels was built, an institutional, medical model guided the development of long-term care facilities. Today’s person-centered approach shapes the environment, organizational structure and interpersonal relationships with residents.

United Church Homes and Services, located in Newton, currently operates 11 programs:  three continuing care retirement communities, seven HUD 202 affordable housing communities, and one Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The home office and UCHS Foundation complete the organization. For additional information, contact Joy Cline at 465-8014 or visit our website at