A Good Time for Change

Thomas O'Neill III, Peoria County Board

Change is coming. Since 1848, Peoria County has owned and operated a skilled care nursing home that serves county residents. This care home became Bel-Wood Nursing Home in 1964, when the current facility was built. Forty-plus years later, it is in need of major renovation, including the installation of a sprinkler system by August 2013 to meet new Illinois Department of Public Health life-safety requirements.

The high cost to renovate, however, begged the consideration of replacing the home instead, and on June 11, 2009, the County Board decided to build new. Two years later, on June 10th, Peoria County purchased 13 acres in West Peoria as the site for the County's new elder care facility slated to welcome residents in approximately 18 months.

The County Board is committed to providing high-quality public facilities to people who live, work and visit Peoria County. The Peoria Riverfront Museum is a testament to that commitment. So is the County's new elder care facility in West Peoria. The facility will be built to LEED Silver design and construction standards and will include state-of-the-art safety systems for monitoring residents. The new home will have the capacity to provide exceptional resident-centered care to 214 individuals, including 80 persons suffering from Alzheimer's. Room design and double corridors will allow residents to enjoy more private space, and a neighborhood setting will enhance their social environment.

Yes, change is coming. The new nursing home will have fewer residents to allow for more personalized care and to better meet the needs of our most fragile clients. The home's premier rehabilitation and newly added outpatient care services will ensure that residents and the public alike receive the most advanced therapies possible. And the home's 42 private rooms will help residents transition from living at home to sharing their lives with new friends and neighbors.

The County Board and nursing home staff and residents share in the excitement of building a new home in West Peoria. This new home will be nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood, surrounded by great views and friendly people. The new location will enable Peoria County to better serve its nursing home residents and their families. Volunteers and visitors will be able to take advantage of the home's proximity to eateries and shopping opportunities. While many amenities are within walking distance of the new site, public transportation will also be readily available to and from the new home.

Over the next two years, the community will notice a change in the way we provide resident-centered care to our citizens. A change in location. A change in name. These changes we welcome. The community will not notice, however, a change in our commitment to caring for the residents of Peoria County. iBi

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