MONTICELLO – The generous nature of the Piatt County Nursing Home Foundation has shown up once again, as the not-for-profit organization has approved up to $470,000 in projects should the nursing home pursue all of them.
Included is a resumption of room updates – a third phase that was stopped in 2017 – that would finish facility-wide room upgrades.
Also on the list is new furniture for the dining room, a lawn tractor, replacement of railings on the ramp at the main entrance, and the rehabbing of outdoor flower bed borders.
Nursing Home Director Scott Porter said he will now gather more information on the projects before prioritizing them.
“Obviously, we are very blessed in so many ways to have the generosity of the community, who donate (to the foundation) toward the betterment of the facility,” Porter said.
The nursing home foundation is a charitable organization founded in 1986 to receive and administer gifts to the nursing home and its programs. The foundation donates dollars for equipment, capital improvements, enhancements and other items that benefit nursing home residents.
Nursing Home Finance Director Stephanie Berkey said the foundation is a major benefit for a non-profit, county-owned nursing home.
“It’s something that’s very unique to Piatt County Nursing Home,” Berkey said. “With so many facilities being corporate run, they don’t have that. We’re very fortunate to have the foundation.”
“The foundation is very generous with their funds. Basically, whatever you need they are willing to set up the funds, so that is great,” nursing home committee member Ray Spencer said. He did ask if the committee should have been more involved with selecting potential projects.
Porter responded that he did not want to present information to the committee prior to having them funded.
Porter also said a bid to add another generator so that the facility could run its air conditioning during a power outage came in less than expected – about $23,000. He said the nursing home may instead consider a total replacement of the current generator, which would need less infrastructure improvements than adding a second unit.
The inability to run the facility chiller during an outage is a concern of nursing home staff there, as patients would need to be evacuated if the temperature hits 80 degrees for more than three hours.
A walk-in cooler also cannot be powered by the current generator capacity.
“If we were to have a real disaster and looking at days (without power), then we would have to transport them miles to another facilities, potentially, and that would be an absolute nightmare,” Porter said.
Other projects that could come out of a separate facility survey include an outdoor seating area Maple Point Supportive Living, fencing for the memory care outside area, and new flooring for Maple Point.
First quarter financials
Berkey told the committee the nursing home operated at a $120,000 loss in the first quarter of the fiscal year, December through February.
She attributes most of that to the fact the nursing home has not been able to accept new patients due to COVID restrictions and a December outbreak at the facility.
Rated for 100 beds but with an actual capacity of about 92, there are currently 67 residents living there, much less than the average of 80 or so.
Berkey said the facility breaks even with a census of about 80 to 82 people.
“Over the next month or two, we would like to be back to at least 80,” Berkey said.
The facility currently does not place three residents in rooms rated for that capacity, limiting it to two. Another room was converted last year into a Snoezelen activity room, which provides multi-sensory experiences for patients, mostly those in the memory care unit.
The need to have four rooms set aside to quarantine potential COVID-19 patients is also reducing capacity by eight beds at this time. Those are still needed in order to meet ongoing state quarantine rules still in effect, despite the fact that all residents have been vaccinated.
Porter said the facility will make adjustments on expenditures to make up at least some of the first quarter loss.
Nursing Home Human Resource Director Jacque Bush said she was excited about an upcoming partnership with Piatt County Workforce that she hopes will help attract CNAs and nurses. Set for implementation sometime this summer, Workforce dollars can help pay for not only training and certification, but for travel and child care expenses for those who meet certain guidelines.
“It seems like a perfect fit,” Porter said.
Pending CNAs who take part in the partnership training endeavor would need to work for the local nursing home for at least two years. Nursing participants would need to sign a three-year contract.