Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Groundbreaking for The Homeplace at Midway set for April 9, after 15-year campaign

By Courtney Kincaid
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Having met the monetary requirements after a 15-year community effort, the Homeplace at Midway project will break ground at 2 p.m. April 9.

Local fundraising recently reached a little over $2.2 million, said Dr. Keith Knapp, president and chief executive officer of Louisville-based Christian Care Communities. “We have raised enough money to build and have reached the threshold that was needed to move forward with the federal loan,” Knapp said. Knapp emphasized that local-fundraising will never truly be completed and the goal is to try to duplicate the amount recently raised, within a year.

Artist's conception of The Homeplace at Midway(Christian Care Communities)

The Nursing Home Task Force recently celebrated with sparkling grape juice when notified their local-fundraising had been completed. “Community support has been strong, outstanding and fabulous,” said City Council Member Sharon Turner, a member of the task force.

The campaign to bring a nursing home to Midway began 15 years ago. “The inspiration essentially was wanting people to be able to stay in Midway,” said Helen Rentch, a member of the task force. The idea started back a number of years ago when nursing-home beds were in very short supply and folks from Midway were having to go pretty far away to find nursing home care. We were distressed that people who have been here their whole life had to leave at the end and be so far away among strangers.”

Members from the task force originally believed a project supporting elder-care facilities could be built in a few years, but ran into various obstacles. Members learned there was a state moratorium on licensed nursing home beds. In time, the group obtained licensing. With the support from residents in the community to build a new and improved elder-care facility for the county, the task force has continued to dedicate time and effort to help make this dream a reality.

The Homeplace will use a Green House concept, the first to be built in Kentucky, so the approach to building such an innovative project has been challenging, Knapp said. The design has also been more expensive, but Knapp said the money is well worth it because the facility will change the face of elder care and improve the quality of life for those elders.

The Green House model is intended to deinstitutionalize long-term care by eliminating large nursing facilities and creating habilitative, social settings, according to the Green House Project. The concept emphasizes freedom and flexibility for elders and allows elderly residents to live in small subdivided houses, with nursing and health-care providers proving on-site care.

The Homeplace at Midway will be a five-building facility, which will include two skilled nursing cottages for 23 residents in need of short-term rehabilitation or long-term care; a 12-bed memory/personal-care cottage for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia; and a 12-bed assisted living cottage for residents who need periodic assistance with daily living activities. Future plans include the addition of an adult day-care program and independent living duplexes to complement the initial resident cottages.

The elder community will be built on 31 acres across from the campus of Midway College. “At least five to six land-sites were proposed for The Homeplace at Midway, but the area across from the college worked out best because it contained more land,” said Mayor Tom Bozarth. “The other sites didn’t work out because they didn’t have enough land for the project, and they just weren’t the right place.”

The facility has arranged for students in Midway College’s nursing program the opportunity to “learn and utilize the Green House model of care through clinical experience and servant-leadership projects,” said Dr. Barbara Kitchen, chair of the college's Nursing and Science Division. She said it's important that students receive this hands-on experience for an understanding of how to care for elders and also learn a new model of care. “We hope this gives students a more rounded experience and gives students a different perspective of the aging process and elder care,” Kitchen said.

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