Care Center begins Assisted Living study

Posted March 28, 2019 at 3:55 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

Since deciding to build the new Care Center facility, staff and community leaders have considered building an Assisted Living facility.

The plan has been to expand the Care Center with such an addition to the east side of the new nursing home facility.

Recently, city officials okayed allowing Care Center Administrator Alan Bruinsma to use the leftover nursing home’s Grain Train fundraising dollars to conduct a feasibility study and for loan expenses.

At the Akron Care Center Trustees’ Feb. 19 meeting, Bruinsma reported on the first steps of progress in gathering data to be able to make an informed choice on whether to move forward with the expansion project or not.

The Care Center’s accounting firm, Williams & Company personnel had begun gathering information from Bruinsma.

He told the trustees he answered “brainstorming” questions from Williams & Company personnel.

He summarized his answers as:

• Twelve resident rooms would be the minimum size the facility could be and it would be connected to the current nursing home but as to how had not been determined.

• The biggest challenge would be finding parking close to the assisted living unit, which would have its own entrance. However, there would be no garages as there wasn’t enough land and most Assisted Living residents do not drive.

• It would be a one-story unit if there is enough land. A one-story facility eliminates the hassles of having an elevator system.

• There would be three studio apartments and nine or more one-bedroom apartments.

• Each apartment would have a kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave but no stove. Bruinsma noted most residents would not cook but enjoy the meals cooked in the nursing home kitchen and in the Assisted Living unit’s separate dining area.

• The unit would have its own common area for visitors and a separate laundry area for residents to use.

If enough space, there would be staff office space plus each resident would have a small locked storage space.

• Maintenance-wise the unit would have its own water heaters but the air conditioning system would use the nursing home’s system but have its own “ice tank.” For heating, another boiler could be added to the nursing home’s current furnace room.

• The Assisted Living unit would be staffed by current nursing home staff.

Bruinsma said there are two options for a feasibility study. One is to use architects who develop the design and cost estimates. The other option goes much farther — telling administration exactly how many residents needed for financial feasibility.

“The financial future of it is can we fill the beds?” said Bruinsma, explaining he prefers the second option and is seeking information from several architectural firms.

“We’ll make our connections and start doing the study,” he said.

“I’m all for it,” said Trustee Jeff Morehead.

“I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback (from the community for an Assisted Living unit),” said Bruinsma.

At their March 19 meeting in Bruinsma’s written report, he stated he was meeting with more architects and the process was ongoing.

Other Business

In other business, Bruinsma told the trustees:

• The resident care “charting” by Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) will now be done on computers instead of hand-written reports.

Care Center Administrator Alan Bruinsma reported purchasing four-in-one units touch-screen systems.

CNAs will be able to take the portable technology and enter the care they give residents and the observations she see as they care for them.

The system includes two wall-mounted units and two computer laptops at a cost of $3,226.84.

• A garage built on-site is now nearly complete.

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