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Cherry Village's expanded skilled-nursing area accepting residents
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Lance Rhodes, foreground, and Zeb Lynd from Brentwood Builders install the last piece of carpet in the Cherry Village main hall as part of an extensive remodeling project at the non-profit facility. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

The silver lining in the Sept. 10 clouds that caused major damage at Cherry Village Benevolence is the earlier-than-planned opening of its new skilled-nursing rooms.
Skilled nursing is the highest level of long-term care a facility can provide, said Jeremy Lewis, chief financial officer at Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane. It offers 24-hour, on-site registered nursing care with many personal touches.
“We had been developing our extensive update plan for quite a while,” Lewis said. “The storm caused a major disruption but it has been a blessing in disguise.
“Since crews were here to repair the roof and other areas, it just made sense to start on the new project as well,” he continued. “The best part is the reaction of residents and their families. It has been exciting for them to watch Cherry Village change right before their eyes.”
Prior to this update, Cherry Village began remodeling all rooms about a year ago. “We have been painting, and replacing lighting, flooring and baseboards throughout the facility,” Lewis said. “All should be finished by next May.”
The skilled nursing area at the non-profit facility is now licensed for 56 residents, up from 44. All new rooms are private, with their own bathrooms. Most offer a shower too.
“The suite can accommodate two residents if a husband and wife want to share a room,” Lewis said. “It can also accommodate family members when they want to spend the night with their loved one. This is especially comforting if hospice services are involved.”
The local need for skilled nursing and the compassionate care that comes with it was the impetus for the expanded services, Lewis said.
“This enables us to really concentrate on person-centered care,” he explained. “Everything we do is focused on making residents feel more at home.”
In addition to 24-hour medical care, skilled nursing offers more choices and privacy, Lewis said, noting residents have control over their care at Cherry Village.
For example, they choose when to wake up and go to bed, and are encouraged to tell staff about food and social-activity preferences.
“We accommodate residents as much as possible,” Lewis said. “The goal is a less institutional style of care in a homey atmosphere.”
Skilled nursing is available for the short term or indefinitely; Cherry Village also offers traditional long-term and hospice care. Medicare A and B plans are for people needing intensive physical therapy after a major surgery with the goal of returning home.
“Medicare patients are enjoying more privacy and nicer accommodations,” Lewis said. “A big part of this is the private dining facilities for each hallway. As we all know, good food and socializing help create a happy home.”
Registered nurses are supported by licensed practical nurses, and certified medication and certified nursing aides 24 hours a day.
“We have one of the best staff-to-patient ratios anywhere, which we know is important to residents and families,” Lewis said. “Also, we completely understand that people are apprehensive about moving a loved one into a new setting no matter what the circumstances.
“We do all we can to make this transition as comforting as possible and our compassionate staff is a major part of this,” he added.
For instance, each Cherry Village hallway is a neighborhood, where residents consistently interact with the same caregivers.
“This means each staff member builds a rapport with residents and learns about their preferences,” Lewis said. “It also builds a bond between caregiver and resident that results in a more comfortable home-like feel.”
A local family owns and operates Cherry Village.