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Iowa Department of Public Health Approves Halcyon House Plan for Expansion and Renovation

posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halcyon house Site Plan

With the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease expected to increase by 40 percent nationwide over the next 10 years, Halcyon House in Washington is exploring development of a dedicated memory care household to provide licensed 24-hour care and services for as many as 18 people with mid- to late-stage dementia. 

The $10.55 million project won a thumbs-up Monday from the Iowa Department of Public Health, which endorsed the 55-year-old, nonprofit continuing care retirement community’s application for a certificate of need to reinvent the way it offers skilled nursing services.  

“The state’s decision acknowledges that there is a shortage of good options in the Washington area for people with mid- to late-stage memory loss,” says Chris Marshall, Executive Director of Halcyon House. “The future expansion and renovation of our community will provide much needed services allowing residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to stay in their community and continue to be close to their friends and family.” 

State approval is required before increasing the size of skilled nursing services to ensure such offerings do not exceed the demand.   

With Monday’s go-ahead, Halcyon House can continue planning for expansion, which also includes replacement of Avalon House, its skilled nursing center. Current plans include development of three skilled nursing households, each with 18 private bedroom and bathroom suites. One household would be licensed for memory care, and the other two households would provide round-the-clock nursing care, including services for people receiving short-term rehabilitation therapy following a hospital stay. 

 Each of the households will embrace the latest philosophies of skilled nursing care, providing each resident with a private room and bath as well as access to large common areas and an open kitchen where residents can gather for meals and programming and spend time with friends and family. Each household will be staffed with team members who fill multiple roles, just like in a true household, where everyone pitches in to make a house a home. 

The project also would include a new front entrance for Halcyon House off South Avenue B as well as renovated dining spaces and a new multi-purpose room, which would be available for Washington-area meetings and events. Halcyon House, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has set a goal of raising $2 million to offset the cost of the expansion. 

 As part of the WesleyLife network of services for older persons, Halcyon House’s plans will require approval of WesleyLife’s volunteer board of directors at its next meeting in December. With the board’s approval, construction would begin in summer 2015 with completion in summer 2016. 

WesleyLife opened a similar project in Pella last December, The Cottages, offering six households offering assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing. The households filled far faster than projected.

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