Now that Methodist Manor has completed its new Otsego Place assisted living facility, it isn't about to rest on its laurels.
The Private Room Initiative, a move already well underway, proposes to offer a private room to all current and future nursing home residents - a means of providing more dignity, more personalized surroundings, a more homelike environment.
The result, according to the Methodist Manor Retirement Community Board of Trustees, will be nothing short of a watershed change in the way the public perceives nursing home care.
In an unusual strategy, Methodist Manor has launched a community campaign to raise funds and support for the Private Room Initiative - the only way it can be done without hiking residential costs too high for the future seniors needing the care.
Plans call for the two-story Gran building and the four wings of the health center to be renovated into private nursing home care rooms, while the older portions of Methodist Manor will be remodeled from the old-style hospital setting into private rooms, each with a private bath and opportunities for the future residents to decorate and incorporate their own belongings.
Methodist Manor Retirement Community CEO Terry Penniman sees the project as something of a revolution in senior care.
"Of all the projects we have been engaged in over the past nine years, this will undoubtedly have the greatest long-term impact on those who will need nursing home care, now and in the future."
Methodist Manor's history is one of growth and change. The original site was the former location of Swallum hospital, obtained in an agreement between the Dr. J.A. Swallum estate and the Storm Lake Methodist Church to provide services needed by local seniors. Friendship Haven of Fort Dodge originally directed the program, with five employees and 17 residents on opening day, January1, 1960.
Today, that risk taken by Storm Lake leaders 45 years ago has turned out to have been a pretty good bet. There are nearly 200 residents being served by 135 employees with a $1.5 million payroll working in four structures, directed by a local board of trustees. In addition to the nursing home and health center, the organization includes independent living at Lake Pointe Villa, assisted living at Otsego Place, and around-the-clock care at Bayside View, including an Alzheimer's care unit.
With all of those resources, the next step is privacy. The board of trustees decided that seniors, after "earning their stripes" in a lifetime of independence, should not be required to share living space with an unchosen roommate, no matter how much care they need as they age. Currently, all but eight of the 93 residential care rooms in the nursing care wings are double-occupancy. Method-ist Manor is turning to the public for donations for the first time in its history. As tax-deductible public donations are made toward the $1.3 million in construction and renovations, they will be placed in escrow pending final architectural plans. Concept drawings by Sylvia Hills Architecture show a typical resident room with a single bed, a sitting/reading area with rug, storage unit with television, in-room sink, private restroom, closet with swing-out doors, and a window ledge to allow for plants - not unlike a quality hotel room, but personalized for the resident in homelike fashion. Plans show each level of the Methodist Manor facility with 18 resident private rooms, dining/lounge room with skylights, sunroom, kitchen and medication room.
The need for senior residential services, according to Methodist Manor officials, is obvious. As of the 2000 Census, over 3,400 people - 17 percent - of Buena Vista County residents were age 65 or older, and that is projected to rise to 5,300 people and 22.6 percent of the population by 2025. It is estimated that a third of all people will need some form of long-term care in their elderly years. Many others, as caregivers to the elderly, will be directly impacted as well.
With its innovations such as Resident Centered Care and Self Directed Work Teams, Methodist Manor has been recognized as a leader in its field.
The Geriatric Education Center at the Des Moines University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences has awarded the Storm Lake retirement community a grant to share its concept of resident centered care with other care facilities in Iowa over the next five years.
Another grant has been received from the state to complete some remodeling of an area to serve as an adult day care facility. Bid-letting is being done, and it is hoped that the service can begin in a few months, although new state regulations are still pending.
In addition, Methodist Manor is updating technology. For example, new wall-mounted touch-screen computer devices are being installed in each health care center to allow for immediate documentation of any medical services.
PRIVATE ROOM INITIATIVE
The Private Room Initiative is an extension of the 45 year history of the non-profit Methodist Manor Retirement Community, and a cutting-edge addition to the major new projects that have emerged today. Donations can be made now, pledged over a period of time, provided in donation of securities or property, or made in payments quarterly, semi-annually or annually. All forms are tax-deductible. For more information, contact Private Home Initiative, in care of Methodist Manor, 1206 West 4th Street, Storm Lake, 50588; or call 712-732-3406; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The fundraising campaign will continue through 2004.