A New Kind of Nursing Home
Great River Health System dreamed of a new kind of nursing home where elders:
- Are served made-to-order breakfast when they are ready to eat
- Bake pies and cakes for friends
- Eat with their caregivers in family-style dining rooms
- Have private rooms and bathrooms with walk-in showers
- Visit the gym for a workout
Then we built it.
Built in 2013, the 127,000 square-foot Klein Center is a community within
a community. Ten households surround Town Center, an indoor mall of services
at the building’s main entrance.
Below is a list of a few of the amenities it has:
- Beauty shop
- Coffee shop
- Gathering Hall
- Klein Center business office
- Restorative gym (A rehabilitation gym with full-time physical therapy and
occupational therapy services is on the second floor.)
The elders who live with us, enjoy the comforts of home and make their
own decisions instead of being told what to do. They plan their days’
activities but also live spontaneously. And they enjoy relationships that
bring purpose and meaning to their lives.
Being in small, loving groups with the same caregivers is comfortable,
not overwhelming. Being familiar with their surroundings, elders are more
likely to leave their rooms and participate in household activities. They
rarely use their call lights because staff anticipate their needs.
Household model for living
The Klein Center has 10 households, each with 16 private rooms, an activity
kitchen, dining room, living room and multipurpose room.
Two households comprise a neighborhood. Wide doors between the households’
dining rooms can be opened for neighborhood activities. Neighborhoods
share patios (ground floor) or balconies, and grills for outdoor cooking.
Patios and courtyards are surrounded by secure fences.
Elders and staff named the households after local landmarks. They household/neighborhood
- Appletree Lane and Mississippi Boulevard – long-term care
- Blackhawk Boulevard and Starrs Hollow – long-term care
- Cascade Falls and Heritage Hill – long-term care
- Cobblestone Hill and Stony Hollow Hideaway – memory care (dementia)
- Madison Avenue and River Junction – skilled care
Each household has a household coordinator, a licensed practical nurse,
two certified nursing assistants and a homemaker, whose primarily responsibilities
are cooking breakfast and cleaning.
All household staff are certified as universal workers. Like family members
at home, they help elders with all their needs, including personal care,
nutrition, activities and laundry. They work consistently with the same
elders so they know elders’ likes and dislikes, and understand their
Each room has a built-in dresser and armoire, nightstand, bed and large
bathroom. There is enough space for elders to bring a small sofa or chair
from home. The rooms have cable television, computer and telephone outlets.
Ninety-eight rooms have lift tracks in the ceiling above the bed to help
staff move elders safely.
Bathrooms have safety lights above the toilets, walk-in showers and bright lighting.