Bethesda renovations will serve residents and citizens

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BethesdaExterior056.jpg

With the renovations complete, Bethesda Home boasts an attractive new entrance, inside the front doors the public will find the new coffee bar called Lincoln Perk at Bethesda (shown below).

When Bethesda Home in Goessel formally dedicates the results of its $2.75 million renovation project on Sunday afternoon, residents of the care center and the community as a whole will enjoy a better quality of life.

At least that?s the hope of Bethesda administrators and staff, including Linda Peters, chief executive officer.

?First of all, we knew that the facility, just in general, needed a lot of work,? Peters said. ?But we were just looking at creating a home?a comfortable living environment for residents as well as for staff who work here.?

That has resulted in the physical creation of ?neighborhoods? for each of the three primary residential corridors in the facility. Each neighborhood is equipped with a dining and kitchen area, where residents can enjoy their meals and the company of each other and visitors.

Included in the 5,100 square feet of added space is a chapel that is adjacent to a larger dining area for larger events.

?We created a nice break area for our staff as well?someplace they can go and rest during the day,? Peters said.

The resident rooms themselves were not included in the project, though many have been remodeled in recent years.

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Mark Woelk, director of facilities managagement, and Linda Peters, CEO, pose in the refurbished large-group gathering area. To the far right, the new chapel area is visible.

Changing the culture

The new physical features of the center are intended to enhance the enjoyment, comfort and dignity of residents in their senior years.

?You don?t invite me over and invite me immediately into your bedroom, which has sort of been the nursing (home) model,? said Eric Shrag, director of the development fund at Bethesda. ?So it?s been nice having the living rooms and places for people to sit.?

The emphasis on dignity and the involvement of residents in decisions about their care is part of the ?culture-change? movement that is spreading nationwide.

?It?s like it?s coming full circle,? Peters said of the advances made at Bethesda in recent years. ?When I read the history of Bethesda Home and look at the old pictures, it looked like a house?and it was. People called it home and lived here.

?I think staff have really embraced it, once they understood it,? Peters said of the culture-change concept. ?They?ve really changed the mindset here from ?what?s best for me? to ?what?s best for the resident.??

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Finishing touches to the coffee bar were still under way last week in preparation for Sunday?s dedication.

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This is one of the new neighborhood gathering areas. Each of the three areas includes a dining area, kitchen and nurses? station.

Public coffee house

Though this recent project will help keep Bethesda on the cutting edge of residential care, the most unique aspect of it is intended to serve the needs of the larger community as well.

Just inside the new front entrance to the facility is a new public coffee bar called ?Lincoln Perk at Bethesda.?

?One of the things that we?ve been able to do is that we will be opening up a coffee shop in partnership with Lincoln Perk in Hesston,? Peters said.

?We want a place where our community can feel welcomed, whether they have a resident here or not,? she added. ?We want them to be able to connect with each other, so we?ll have a coffee bar with free public Wi-Fi (wireless Internet access).

?There really is no place in Goessel for people to connect. It?s a small town. So, we?re really excited about that. It?s one way also for us to give back to the community.?

The initial reaction of Goessel residents has been positive, according to Schrag?that is, once they got an early tour of the project recently.

?I took people into the coffee bar and they were just blown away because when we had said ?coffee bar,? people thought it was like a cart with a coffee pot and a muffin or two,? Shrag said with a grin. ?I think people are really excited about it.?

Schrag said those involved with Bethesda feel a deep sense of gratitude for the support of Goessel residents over the years, particularly during the development of this project.

?As I talk to peers when I go to conferences outside of Kansas, when they hear we have a town of 500 and were able to start this project with funds in hand, I think that?s huge,? he said.

The project benefited greatly from a $225,000 matching grant from the Mabee Foundation in Oklahoma, but a good portion of the funds needed for the project were raised through local contribution with the help of a tax-credit incentive.

?I can?t express enough our deep gratitude to the community for its support,? Peters said. ?We wouldn?t be here without them. We don?t take that for granted.?

 

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