GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A health and rehabilitation facility will increase in size after gaining approval from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to add more beds.

Sheltering Arms Institute’s in-patient rehabilitation hospital — a 114-bed facility that cares for people recovering from illnesses or injuries like stroke, neurological diseases and disorders, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries — plans to add 30 more beds.

The VDH approved the hospital’s certificate of public need application. The hospital opened in 2020 and is located in West Creek just west of the Henrico County line.

Alan Lombardo, CEO of Sheltering Arms, said that since they opened they’ve seen more patients.

“We’ve seen over 6,000 patients already in this hospital and the demand for our services have never been greater,” Lombardo said.

With an increased demand for their rehabilitation services, the healthcare provider plans to spend up to $25 million to build the new unit, which will be on the fourth floor of the hospital.

Lombardo said the new unit will help a growing need since it serves a unique patient population.

“We serve people all over the state. You honestly, on the East Coast, have to travel to Pennsylvania or to Georgia to find something similar to what we provide here,” Lombardo said.

Nina Brown is a bus driver in New Kent County who suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago.

“When I came here, I could not walk. And every time I would go to walk, I couldn’t get my foot up,” Brown said.

But now, Brown said she’s making good progress. On Tuesday morning, she took her first steps since being admitted. Brown added that this project means more people in situations similar to hers will be able to get the help they need.

“We definitely need the space and more people in there,” Brown said.

Lombardo said they’ll begin the design phase in the next few weeks. The construction will begin once a contractor is selected, with the project taking about 18 months to complete.