Healthcare facility seeks to meet the changing needs of residents

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is the first in a two-part series about a mileage project for the Manistee County Medical Care Facility.

MANISTEE COUNTY – After 60 years of operation, the Manistee County Health Care Facility has seen better days.

Since opening in 1961, the county-owned facility has provided a wide range of medical and rehabilitation services to its residents both short and long term. Now officials say investments are needed to restore the building’s aging infrastructure and meet the changing needs of its residents.

“Our building has worked very well for us for 60 years,” said administrator Joe Coleman. “We want to make sure it lasts another 60 years. “


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

A major area of ​​concern is the condition of a large network of deteriorating pipes found at the facility.

Cast iron pipes have passed their service life, buried under cement floors. Many pipes are leaking, rupturing and even bursting over the past two decades, resulting in a series of costly repairs.

“When they leak, they cause damage and we have to tear down cinder block walls to fix them (and) replace them,” Coleman told the News Advocate. “To replace them, you will have to tear up the floors and break the concrete in the middle of the hallway.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic has placed more emphasis on a good ventilation system, the heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing and electrical systems are obsolete and require constant maintenance according to staff. establishment.

More recently, a dumbwaiter used by kitchen staff has malfunctioned and officials are unsure if they will be able to locate the parts needed to fix the decades-old elevator.

“No one is building the mechanics for this anymore, so we have a total rehabilitation amounting to $ 123,000,” said Joe Jones, plant operations manager.

Now officials are asking voters in Manistee County to consider a bond proposal worth up to $ 25 million that, if passed in the Nov. 2 election, would fund renovation and upgrading. expansion of the facility.

Related: Here’s what to expect with the mileage at Manistee County Healthcare Facility

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.

“The old county farm was a men’s quarter, a women’s quarter and if you were old and still able to move around, you milk the cows, you worked the fields, you worked the kitchens,” Doug said. Parkes, chairman of the Manistee County Department. the board of health and social services.

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

“The current building was a big step up from the old county farm building with its male and female wards. The existing building with its multiple services and semi-private rooms does not adapt well to today’s typical residents, HIPAA requirements, desire for privacy, the ability to accommodate visitors and medical equipment durable required, ”says the institution’s website.

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.

“When this building was first constructed, most residents were fairly mobile without a wheelchair,” Coleman said. “The old private and semi-private rooms are too small for the equipment we have today – oxygen concentrators, wheelchairs, walkers, IV poles (and) tube feeding poles.”

“The staff are doing their best, but there is not enough room for them while still helping the resident safely to the washroom,” Coleman continued.


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