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Brandon's First Nursing Home Opens

August 20, 2012, 6:14 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Brandon's First Nursing Home Opens
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

It's a much-needed place for people who need full-time care, but the number of nursing homes being built across the country has taken a nose dive.

The recession has made it more difficult for private financing for new nursing homes, and existing nursing homes are dealing with cuts in government payments.  But a new nursing home in Brandon hopes to beat the trend.

Elsie Urban's family is helping her unpack at her new home at Bethany Home-Brandon. She just moved out of her own house around a month and a half ago.

"It was hard to leave my home at first, but now I'm coping with it because I know I couldn't live alone anymore," Urban said.

The 94-year-old woman broke her ankle and now needs help around the clock. She's one of 60 people who will make this new nursing home their new home. Out of the 60 beds, almost 50 of them are already spoken for.

"Everything here is built around that resident-centered care concept and that community to make it more home-like and to feel not like the institutional nursing home and more like their own home," Bethany Home and Meadows CEO and Administrator Dennis Sever said.

The nursing home has private rooms for residents with their own bathroom, shower and heated floor. Each wing also has its own spa room, and you can work out in the pool or shop at the general store and deli. It's a far cry from the typical nursing home.

"The problem has been that we had a boom in assisted living and those facilities, but nursing homes have been held back.  So now all of our nursing homes, like Bethany Homes in Sioux Falls, are old and in need of lots of repair," Sever said.

Sever admits with cuts in government payments, operating a nursing home is not an easy task. Bethany Home is getting creative by hiring care specialists instead of nursing aides. These specialists can do more of a variety of work.

"They're going to be providing some of the activities, some of the housekeeping, some of the dietary aides and things like that," Sever said.

While Urban misses living at her own home, she says she's lucky to find a place so nice to live with 24-hour care.

"It's just like home," Urban said.

"This is a state-of-the-art facility with private rooms and bathrooms," Elsie's son, Rodney Urban, said.

Because the family knows with fewer nursing homes being built, others might not be so lucky.

The number of nursing homes in the United States dropped almost nine percent from 2000 to 2009.

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