HOMER GLEN, Ill. (October 2014) — Providence Life Services celebrated the upcoming opening of the first Small Houses in the state of Illinois with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday at Victorian Village Health and Wellness Center in Homer Glen.
Three new buildings on the Victorian Village campus are designed to house new services: skilled nursing, skilled memory care, and rehabilitation. These services complete the full continuum of care at Victorian Village — the Homer Glen campus has provided townhome living, retirement living, assisted living and memory care over the last 15 years.
“Over 15 years ago, on this site, where a large barn stood, who could have imagined that today, a full care community like this would be built?” asked Providence Life Services CEO Richard Schutt. “Our ribbon-cutting opens the final chapter in the development of this campus, with its full service to seniors.”
Now that the construction on the new buildings is complete, the next step is approval and licensure from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Residents are expected to begin moving into the houses in January, but Victorian Village is already accepting applications.
Officials from the Village of Homer Glen attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and Mayor Jim Daley was invited to speak a few words.
“As mayor, on behalf of the entire community, I’d like to congratulate the Providence Life Services team on this wonderful addition to the Victorian Village campus,” he said. “I have quite a few friends that actually live on this campus, and they absolutely love it. So congratulations; thank you for your continued investment in Homer Glen; the entire community is proud of the Health and Wellness Center.”
The Health and Wellness Center brings more than new buildings and new services to the Victorian Village campus — it brings an entirely new model of care: the “Small House” model. This innovative approach combines professional care with a home-like setting.
Each of the new buildings is built to resemble a single-family home. The two smaller buildings will house 10 residents each, and each resident has a private room and bathroom. The bedrooms surround an open kitchen, a library and a den. The layout of the larger building is similar, but also includes a rehabilitation gym, and it will serve 30 rehab clients.
Each house functions based on a universal worker: a CNA, called a Care Partner, who is trained to do nearly every task. RNs will be on staff for residents’ medical needs, and Marianjoy therapists will serve clients in the rehab building, but all of the daily tasks of the house — laundry, meal planning and cooking, and resident care — will be handled by Care Partners.
“(It’s) a wonderful alternative to the institutional-style buildings that most of us are familiar with,” Schutt said. “We believe this (is) the future of nursing home care in our country.”
Being the first in Illinois to use this revolutionary model came with its challenges: despite the drastic change in the buildings’ structure and the model of care, regulations still have to be upheld.
“It’s a home environment, but it needs to be, and is, institutionally safe,” Schutt said.
Providence Life Services worked with state and local officials to ensure that was the case.
“We want to thank all our public servants and elected officials, many of whom are here today to celebrate this milestone,” Schutt said at the ceremony. “Remember that everything that’s worth doing is a challenge to accomplish, and we’re grateful that we were able to accomplish it with your help. We’ll continue to look for your guidance and for your encouragement and support for the success of what will happen here as we take care of the residents.”
“May all who call this place home be blessed.”