Healthcare facility eagerly awaits renovation amid difficult year

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of News Advocate’s Best Stories of the Year compilation (in no particular order) revisiting and recapping Manistee County’s biggest news from 2021.

MANISTEE – The staff and administrators at Manistee County Health Care Facility have been asked a lot over the past year.

From navigating the twists and turns of an ongoing pandemic to dealing with staff shortages at an aging facility, 2021 has been one of the most defining years in the centre’s 60-year history. skilled nursing care.

• Residents and staff of the long-term care facility receive a second dose of vaccine


Efforts to vaccinate those most at risk for COVID-19 continued at the Manistee County Medical Care Facility in 2021.

Elderly care facilities like the Manistee County Medical Care Facility have been particularly affected by the pandemic. The Associated Press reports that COVID has killed more than 140,000 nursing home residents in the United States.

And although no residents of the county facility have been infected with the disease to date, the introduction of a vaccine has helped authorities move towards reopening the facility in March.

• Visits resume at severely restricted health care facility

After nearly a year of relative isolation, residents at the facility were able to see loved ones in person again in March.

The state’s Residential Care Facilities Ordinance, enacted on March 2, allowed visitors to reenter nursing homes and long-term care facilities – albeit with heavy restrictions in place.

“Interior visits appear to be very limited in number and very strict in the rules,” said Joe Coleman, administrator of the establishment. “I think a lot of people can relax a bit now with the infection rate going down – but we can’t.”

• Staff shortages in health care facilities could have consequences for future residents.

While the facility’s pandemic restrictions were relaxed after most of its staff and residents were fully immunized, the ongoing pandemic has prevented a return to normal operations.

“Families and residents have been apart for quite a long time – it’s time to come back to life,” Coleman said. “The vaccines have been offered, everyone has had a chance to get one, so I think at this point we are all as protected as we are going to be.”

Like many employers, Coleman said the facility was struggling to attract new workers to replace those who left amid the pandemic.

“With the government paying people not to work, it’s hard to replace employees when they leave,” Coleman said. “The number of starts was fairly normal, but we had a very low number of candidates. “

Without a full staff, Coleman said he was unable to increase the number of residents housed at the facility.

• Manistee County Medical Facility is asking for mileage

Voters in Manistee County were asked on November 2 to consider a bond proposal worth up to $ 24 million that would fund the renovation and expansion of the Manistee County health care facility.

Originally built in 1961, the 60-year-old specialized nursing facility requires extensive renovation to restore its aging infrastructure.

“We will be able to repair our building so that it can continue into the future,” Coleman said. “When it was built, most of the residents were walking and talking. Now we have people in wheelchairs and people with a lot of equipment that was not even considered in 1961. ”

• Manistee healthcare facility seeks to meet the changing needs of residents

Although solidly built, Coleman said the facility has long since started showing its age.

The health care facility was built in the late 1950s to eventually replace the Manistee County Farm, an institution that provided amenities to more able-bodied residents.

When it was built, the state-of-the-art medical center catered to the most mobile residents. But as the needs of its residents changed, the facility struggled to keep up.

Comparatively fewer residents needing bulky amenities like wheelchairs, oxygenators and stretchers meant the original layout could save space with narrower bathrooms and entryways than is currently recommended by the United States Disability Act.

Today, it is common for residents to require the assistance of two staff members for transfers to ensure the safety of the resident and staff.

While the pandemic has placed additional emphasis on a good ventilation system; Heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing and electrical systems are outdated and require constant maintenance, according to facility staff.

Another area of ​​concern is the condition of a large network of deteriorating pipes found at the facility. Cast iron pipes have passed their useful life, buried under cement floors. Many pipes are leaking, rupturing and even bursting over the past two decades, resulting in a series of expensive repairs.

The property’s renovation and expansion plans include approximately 74 private rooms and 13 semi-private rooms, as well as improvements to the building’s mechanical and electrical systems, a new elevator, furniture and equipment, upgrades site and professional services.

The works would mean more spacious rooms, bathrooms, entryways and hallways for residents and staff, as well as improved outlets for more modern technology.

Manistee County voters approve mileage for medical facilities

With the facility’s long-term viability at stake in the November 2021 election, voters in Manistee County voted in favor of the mileage.

A total of 2,279 votes were cast in favor of the mileage request in Manistee County; 1,580 votes were cast against the request.

Manistee voters had also approved a separate renewal of the mileage of operations at the facility in 2020.

With its passage in November, voters helped pave the way for construction of the facility for the start of the new year.

“We’re going to make sure we’re doing our best to minimize the economic impact on the community, so we’re going to save money wherever we can during construction,” Coleman said. “What worried me is that the building will last long enough to do this.”


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