11 years over
After 11 years Gritman Medical Center will close down the Adult Day Health Program at the end of the year.
The decision was made to close the program down at the Gritman Board of Directors meeting on Sept. 26. The program, which opened in 2001, offered its services to local patients and their families.
“This program provides care to elderly adults and younger participants, and respite for their families,” said Kara Besst, CEO of Gritman.
Effective Dec. 31, 43 participants who live in nearby counties in Washington and Idaho will have to find alternative sources of healthcare.
A problem that Adult Day Health Community Board member Cindy Kinzer realizes all too well, as she had her mother-in-law in the program for five years.
“They do so much out there and the main thing when I had my mother-in-law out there, there was a respect and dignity, which is so important and these people have it the whole time they are out there,” Kinzer said.
The program allowed families to continue to work while members of their families who needed care were watched throughout the day. Without that program, these families are going to have to decide what other options are out there for them.
“These people’s families’ choices will be programs for in-home health care, more on a one-to-one,” Kinzer said. “They would not be getting around other people.”
According to Kinzer, the families will also have the option of looking at rest homes, but she said most members of this program would fall through the cracks, and while they may not be able to take care of themselves, they desperately need human interaction.
The problem facing Gritman is a monetary one. Since starting the program Gritman, a not-for-profit hospital, has subsidized the program by $3.8 million. In the past three years, they have averaged a loss of $360,000 annually.
They tried to find other programs to help them with saving the program but any costs were simply too high, according to Besst.
“We looked at a program called Pace. What we learned from our consultant is we probably could, but it was going to be pretty expensive to do it up front,” Besst said.
Eight full-time employees who have helped run the program will lose their jobs when the program closes at the end of the year.
According to Kinzer, these members not only ran the program, but made it a safe environment for families to leave their loved ones.
“Barb Mahoney, who is the director of Adult Day Health, has put a team together of CNA’s, her nurse Carla, a social worker — has a team together that, you walk in there and just feel the warmth from these people — I think that’s really important to me,” Kinzer said.
Besst said Gritman plans to assist the employees of the program with either finding jobs within the hospital or the local areas.
“We have eight full time employees, and some of (them) have been with the program for eight years. We would love to have them as a part of the hospital,” Besst said.
Jacob Dyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org