PRATT — Beautiful is not often the first word that comes to mind when considering nursing homes, but it was on the tongues and lips of many who toured the Grand Plains Skilled Nursing Center by Americare during their Open House event Thursday, September 24 in Pratt.


More than 40 business leaders and associates attended the ribbon-cutting and special tours, offered by invitation only, at 9 a.m. last Thursday as the doors of the 37,000 square foot, 60-bed facility were opened for a first-view. Additional tours were offered throughout the day, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for any who wished to stop by at 331 State Route 61 in Pratt.


Tour participant Linda Adelhardt, director of Prairie Independent Living Resource Center (PILR) in Pratt, an organization that works to keep older adults independent in their own homes, said that when the time comes, she would have no problem recommending care at the Grand Plains nursing center.


"This is just beautiful," she said. "It's about time we started taking care of our elders like this."


James Lane, who was in attendance at the Grand Plains Open House representing Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, said he was very impressed with the new skilled nursing center in Pratt.


"There are many hospitals and nursing homes in the state that need upgrades," Lane said. "Seeing this, it is very impressive. You really have your own walls, your own space. It's beautiful."


Tour guides for the morning included Operations Director Delia Ribordy, Administrator Beth Towns and Regional Billing Specialist Shari Parsons.


"This is not a huge place in terms of density per population," Ribordy said. "It's just the right size for Pratt. Just think if we could do something like this in every small rural town, what kind of impact it would have on the quality of care for our elderly folks."


Towns said that staffing for the new Pratt facility would include two registered nurses around the clock, as well as the necessary support nurses, the most important components of all.


"For normal care we expect to have one CNA per every eight residents," Towns said. "From day one, residents will also have expert consultations under the oversight of Grand Plains Medical Director Dr. J. Wakon Fowler.


Dr. Fowler, who is board certified in family medicine and a graduate of the University of Kansas' School of Medicine, will oversee the Grand Plains comprehensive program of skilled nursing and rehabilitation.


Tour participants last Thursday were able to see the Grand Plains state-of-the-art therapy gym with physical, occupational and speech therapy areas. Also open were the welcoming lobby, living spaces, private bedrooms, companion suites, a restaurant-style dining area, resident cafe and a spacious parlor complete with an electric, baby grand piano. Outdoor patios and cozy fireside visiting areas were also visible.


Parsons said that more than 30 current residents of Pratt Rehabilitation and Residence Center at 227 S. Howard will be moved to the new Grand Plains facility in mid-October. After that, remaining rooms will be opened up for reservation.