Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Safe Haven naysayers should move on

    As elders in Blaine County, we, too, are concerned about the quality of elder care in our community, but we find the organized opposition to the Safe Haven contract an ill-conceived distraction.
    After diligent research, the Blaine County commissioners have signed a contract in good faith with Safe Haven to take over Blaine Manor. Let it go forward. We will be watching. Blaine County is recognized throughout the state for demanding quality at every level, be it the arts, recreation or medical care. We have full confidence that should Safe Haven not meet the high standards that our community expects, we will read about it on the front page of the Mountain Express.
    In the meantime, we believe the Committee to Save Blaine Manor and the 585 citizens who signed their petition would have a more positive impact on our elderly community by throwing their support behind Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation and encouraging them to move forward by building the first Green House cottage in Idaho.
           The nonprofit Green House Project ( HYPERLINK "" offers a model for long-term care designed to look and feel like a real home. Residents have yards, private rooms, and open living spaces with 10-12 elders to a cottage.
    Over the last decade, this model has proved effective, feasible and sustainable with the operational costs demonstrated to be equal to nursing homes nationally. There is less staff turnover and happier residents. The project provides training, building plans and financing through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
    Idaho is only one of three states in the West that does not have a Green House Project and our understanding is that the Idaho State Board of Nursing Home Administrators would welcome such a project.
    There is room at Croy Ranch for several cottages. And although an average 64 percent of Green House costs are funded by paying residents, 36 percent are Medicaid funded. This mix would provide yet another option for Blaine County seniors in our financially diverse community.
Florence Blanchard and Dorothy Schinella

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