A new resident kitchen and dining area and updated residents rooms were among the recent renovations at Bethany Home.
The project involved both the interior and exterior of the nursing home and is the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Grand Facelift Award winner.
Bethany Home received the award on Tuesday, Jan. 22, during the Chamber’s annual awards program, which was held at the Waupaca Ale House.
“The employees and residents have taken ownership of the whole thing,” said Pauline Darling, Bethany’s CEO/administrator. “The employees and residents were so flexible. There was so much organization.”
The planning for the remodeling project began about three years ago and included input from residents and employees.
Two committees – one about decor and the other about resident services – formed.
The Resident Services Committee included a representative from every department at Bethany Home, Darling said.
The focus of the renovation was to increase Bethany Home’s accessibility and to make it feel less institutional and more like a home, she said.
“We want to be a place where people want to come instead of having to come,” Darling said.
Thus far, all of the resident rooms in the short- and long-term units have been updated.
There is one unit left to remodel.
“We were able to create 15 more private rooms than we had before,” she said. “We now have 58 private rooms.”
Each room has new flooring, lighting, furniture, beds, bathroom fixtures and a new color on its walls.
The Decorating Committee – made up of residents – chose the colors, flooring, lighting, cabinets and countertops for the new kitchen and dining area in the long-term resident area.
That committee also selected the flooring for the hallways and narrowed down the color choices for the residents’ rooms.
The residents decided what color they wanted in their rooms.
Two resident rooms were remodeled at a time, with Bethany’s Maintenance Department doing the majority of the interior work.
Residents were moved to a different room on a Friday, returning to their rooms the following Thursday.
Darling said Waupaca Floor Decor and Christensen Home Decorators were hired for the flooring and painting, respectively, and were flexible and understanding working around the dynamics of a project which involved residents.
She said Bethany Home’s board gave them a $1.5 million budget.
The budget included the mechanical aspects of the project.
“Our foundation has been very generous,” Darling said. “They gave us $125,000, which paid for the drive-under canopy and helped to pay for the resident dining area and kitchen for our long-term care residents.”
The exterior part of the project also included an expanded front porch, a patio area off the new kitchen and dining area and the replacement of the chain link fence with a wrought iron fence.
Darling said accessibility was kept in mind throughout the project.
The nursing home now has a new, wider, automatic front door.
“It’s about them having easy access to the outdoors and to be as self sufficient as possible,” she said of the residents.
In addition to updating the resident rooms in one more unit, Bethany Home is also currently remodeling its main dining area.
Once complete, it will have a log cabin theme and will operate like a restaurant, with menu service.
Future plans also call for the development of a trail along the Crystal River, which will be open to members of the community, and to raise funds to build a dock and provide a pontoon boat and fishing area on Shadow Lake for the residents.
“Another part of our vision,” Darling said, “is that we are not just a nursing home. We are a campus for all stages of retirement living. If you move into a duplex at 55, you know this is where you are going to stay.”
She said they continue to look at doing things differently.
Wireless technology was added to the facility.
There are computers in the lobby, large, flat-screen televisions and a Wii for residents.
“It truly is about trying to create an atmosphere like home, because this truly is their home,” Darling said. “It is about them making their own choices and decisions.”