State nursing home grant calls for eliminating beds

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A county in Pennsylvania recently received a $6 million state grant to renovate its nursing home. But the huge grant comes with a catch: Butler County has to reduce the number of beds in the home by more than 8%, to 220 from 240.

The reason? To eliminate excess nursing home beds in county facilities throughout the state. Those unoccupied beds result from a state and federal trend pushing towards more in-home care. While county caregivers were resistant to the idea of reducing the number of beds, they decided to follow through because the nursing home runs at an average occupancy rate of 90%.

The county plans to use the $6 million grant to build a rehabilitation unit with 20 private beds and a therapy suite; a remodeled Alzheimer's unit with a new activity/dining area, an elevator and an outdoor garden; two private hospice rooms; two semiprivate bariatric rooms; and a turnaround driveway with a covered drop-off area. It also will be able to eliminate most four-bed rooms, among other changes.