Small town care

GOWRIE – Residents, staff and visitors have experienced some significant changes around the Gowrie Care Center lately.

A new director of nursing started in August and physical improvements have been made to the care center’s interior. New carpet has been installed in the front room, some resident rooms are being painted and a new skilled care hallway is intended for temporary residents.

“I came in August. This is such a nice facility, just a gem in a nice little town,” said Shelly Fraser, director of nursing. “I wanted to make some changes around here to make it even better. This place really deserved it.”

Since renovations began, long-term care residents have been moved to the building’s east and west wings. The north wing will become the skilled care unit for residents who are recovering from illness or surgery with the intention of returning home. Two rooms have been renovated into one large room for on-site physical and occupational therapy, something which makes therapy easier for both residents and therapists.

“This is just an overall much better space for us,” said Matthew Cohara, area manager with Orthopaedic and Neurological Rehabilitation Inc., which serves as the therapy provider for the care center. “Before, we were working in the hallways and in the residents’ rooms. This is just great.”

Soon, skilled care residents will have their own dining area. A transitional apartment will soon be available in the Senior Suites, an assisted living apartment complex adjacent to the care center.

“We’ll have a transitional apartment for skilled care where residents can stay, get two meals a day provided and see if they are ready for the independence of going back to their own home,” said Fraser.

Bruce Mehlhop, owner of Signature Care Centers, which owns Gowrie Care Center, said the specialization move could be a benefit to the facility.

“I think the specialization-to-home is going to be very good for this center,” he said. “The therapy room will be huge for them. That is something I am working to get in every one of our facilities.”

“You have to offer proper therapy to be able to compete with other small nursing homes,” said Fraser.

A hospice room has also been added with the help of a $1,500 donation from Iowa Hospice. When complete, it will offer a comfortable space for patient and family.

Fraser said she hopes the simple improvements will be a draw for the care center.

“My goal is to fill this building,” she said. “We’re certified for 46 residents and have capacity for 10 skilled care residents. It deserves to be full. This is a good place with great people and I see a lot of potential.”