Las Vegas — In October, New Vista, a nonprofit organization that assists intellectually challenged individuals, broke ground on its first medical clinic and senior home in the northwest part of Las Vegas. This initial step in the six-phase project is the first time in the state that a medical clinic was specifically designed to meet the needs of intellectually challenged individuals.
The home will house up to six seniors, while the clinic will provide onsite medical care for the senior-assisted living homes, specialized treatment facilities for everyone in Las Vegas that requires physician services unique to their intellectual disability and a training ground for local physicians, nurses and interns on how to treat intellectually challenged patients.
Once opened, both facilities will help support the growing needs of these patients. From a study conducted by Schafer Consulting Inc. in 2005, New Vista learned that the life span of intellectually challenged individuals increased from 19 years old in the 1940s to 66 years old in 1993. In Nevada’s Clark County alone, there will be an estimated 5,364 intellectually challenged individuals over the age of 50 in 2020, compared to 4,455 in 2010.
Currently, these individuals are less likely to be brought by caregivers to seek medical treatment unless their situation becomes a state of emergency due to lack of medical professionals that understand how to treat intellectually challenged patients. Lack of money, transportation and understanding of available resources are other factors in the lack of treatment.
New Vista plans to address the growing needs of these patients with the new building project and with the future addition of a Community Outreach Center, Job Development Center and more senior homes. Once completed, the plan will provide individuals and their caregivers with educational, social and recreational activities, as well as serve as a starting point for them to find the proper services, training and education available to them in the Las Vegas area.
Partnering with New Vista, Touro University Nevada is helping create one of the first curriculums in the nation that will give medical students hands-on experience by working with and providing care for the intellectually challenged patients.
“As Nevada’s largest medical school, Touro University Nevada is deeply committed to community service and outreach that positively and directly impacts the local community,” said Mitchell Forman, D.O. dean of Touro’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, in a press release statement. “This partnership provides not only an opportunity for our students to have hands-on experience working with intellectually challenged individuals, but equally as important, it provides individuals and their families with expanded access to health care.”
The project is being developed at the New Vista Ranch on the same 15 acres of land that was donated to the organization in 1987 by the Gilcrease brothers. The general contractor is Las Vegas-based Bentar Development.