Written by H Wayne Wilson
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 00:00
For years, Peoria County nursing home residents have lived on Plank Road, miles from any population center. In choosing a location for a new nursing home, county leaders decided the facility should be closer to the families of the home’s occupants. The end result is a 214-bed facility on Heading Avenue in West Peoria, a building that is completed, but not yet in use. While River City Construction built the new nursing home within budget and in time for a planned spring opening, the regulatory process has left the structure empty. There won’t be activity at what is now called Heddington Oaks until sometime in September.
Before any nursing home can open, the Illinois Department of Public Health must conduct two inspections – one for life safety issues and the other to meet nursing care licensing guidelines. The state found 26 points of correction, as IDPH calls them, in the life safety inspection. The county addressed those areas and is awaiting final life safety approval. The nursing care inspection cannot begin until the life safety changes are okayed. The most significant planned life safety improvement at Heddington Oaks is the fire sprinkler system, something Belwood does not have.
The 175 clients at Belwood will move once state approval is granted. At the same time, all 180 staff members at Belwood will make Heddington Oaks their new workplace. There are 60 people on a waiting list for the 39 remaining beds in the new nursing home. Peoria County Assistant Administrator Scott Sorrel says the building design “creates a home-like atmosphere so that residents who are at the same level on the continuum of care can interact with one another.” There will be up to 80 beds dedicated to the care of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Peoria County spent $48-million to build Heddington Oaks, paid through a bond sale. Property taxes will pay off the bond, although an internal loan from another county source lowered interest costs. The operating budget is to be covered by fees paid by the residents. The daily rate for current private pay residents of Belwood has been grandfathered for a one year period at $190. The fee for new clients will range from $217 to $245 a day, depending on the level of service. The fees for those individuals on Medicare or Medicaid are set by the federal and state governments.
When the doors of Heddington Oaks open, Belwood will close its portals, at least for now. A citizens’ ad hoc committee is studying the usage of all county facilities. The report, due this fall, could recommend anything from demolition to the repurposing of Belwood. Heddington Oaks continues the county’s 150 year history of providing nursing home care. The future at the new site could include more construction, but not for nursing home purposes. The city of West Peoria owns two adjacent acres of land. The community eventually wants to build a city hall at that location, but has set no timetable.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 13:14