Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Task force narrows nursing-home sites to four

By Tilly Finley, Sarah Livesay, Meg Quigley and Ashley Trosper
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The list of potential sites for Midway's first nursing home has been reduced to four.

Helen Rentch of the Nursing Home Task Force told the city council Tuesday night that there are two potential sites north of Interstate 64, one at Midway Station and one just north of Midway Station. The two sites south of I-64 are an unspecified location on or near Midway College’s campus, which would allowing the nursing home to collaborate with nursing students at the school, and a site that has yet to be revealed.

The college and the city pledged in 2007 to donate about 6½ acres near the college and Northside Elementary School for the nursing home, but geologic tests have found the location unsuitable, Rentch said. She said four acres of land is needed, which is hard to find because Midway is "land-locked" by large farms. She said the task force is hoping to have its final assessment by March 15.

This is not the first time Rentch and fellow task force members have set a deadline. They began their journey toward building a nursing home in 1999. They gained a state certificate of need for 23 beds after Woodford Memorial Hospital closed, and two years ago joined forces with Christian Care Communities, which would get the certificate and take over ownership and management of the facility when it opens.

When the effort began, local citizens needing nursing-home or assisted-living care had to travel up to two counties away. Since then, Taylor Manor has opened in Versailles, but does not accept Medicare or Medicaid patients as the Midway nursing home plans to do. The home would not have assisted living upon opening but Rentch hopes it will be added.

The task force envisions a home with a “green-house” concept, which would include 12 to 13 people per building, providing a home-like feel to all residents. Member Doris Nave said it would be a family-style facility where patients would “see familiar faces and eat meals together.”

The task force has received a $500,000 community development block grant, because a nursing home would create jobs -- at least 40 jobs, Rentch said. But she said it would still need to raise $2 million to $2.5 million for construction, depending on the site.

Although it has been a long process, task force members have not given up hope. Rentch said there is a very large demand for this type of care in Midway community and she will continue her 10-year efforts to meet it. Mayor Tom Bozarth said, “The council would like to help this dream become a reality.”