Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre
Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre Receives Grant from Hellenic Foundation for their Fine Dining Experience Project
We are extremely appreciative of the Hellenic Foundation for considering us as a grant recipient and furthering our mission of providing quality care with genuine hospitality for all our residents. Many of these residents were pillars of our community and it is our responsibility to assure they are taken care of with love, honor and dignity.
The Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre is the only nursing home owned by the Greek American Community in the Midwest and is recognized as, not only the most beautiful nursing home in the area, but as a state-of-the-art facility.
This organization started to raise funds for the construction of a Nursing Home over 60 years ago. It was a long and difficult journey, however in 2000 construction was started to provide a safe haven for our Orthodox faithful elderly. This was a dream of many which finally became a reality when we opened our doors in March of 2002. This 188-bed facility is situated on 8 acres in Wheeling, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The Care Centre is a not-for-profit facility for long-term care and short-term rehabilitation. Additionally, we have a certified Alzheimer’s unit which accommodates 65 residents. Currently, our occupancy consists of 20% that are here for short term rehabilitation and 80% are long term and skilled care residents. On average, 65% of our total census is on public aid; therefore, the Care Centre must continuously obtain additional funding through fundraising and grants.
Our purpose is to take in the sick and elderly of our community and provide them with restorative, skilled and long-termed health care in a safe, home-like environment, regardless of their economic status. We serve the Chicago-land area including the suburbs, and with our extreme focus on ethnic, cultural and spiritual needs of the Greek Orthodox Community, we have several residents from across the country. We strive to assure that our residents receive the love, respect, honor and dignity they deserve.
We are in our fourteenth year of operations; however, we had to overcome many hurdles to keep our doors open over the years. The nursing home wrestled with and erased an early accumulation of over 4.5 million dollars of debt. We are dedicated to keeping this Home viable and available to all. Our nursing home has now attained a great measure of financial stability as well as garnering the highest levels of certification available and introducing innovative supplementary services. The Board of Directors hosts several fundraising events per year, along with solicitations for donations to assist with our shortfall and financial position. Our annual events include a Dinner Fashion Show in May, a golf outing in the summer and a dinner dance Gala in the fall.
Throughout the years of financial uncertainty, our first and foremost goal was to always consider the needs of our beloved residents. Over the years we have made several programming changes and renovations to our building to better serve resident needs and our surrounding community. One of these improvements is the dining service to our residents. We have a wonderful healthy menu featuring many Mediterranean specialty foods, various ethnic meals from countries around the world and an extensive substitute menu for residents’ individual tastes and needs. However, the delivery of these meals needs improvement so that we can achieve a true fine dining experience.
Currently, meals for our residents are prepared in the kitchen, placed on individual trays and put into carts. Each cart is then sent to the designated floor and trays are distributed accordingly. We can improve this system by incorporating portable hot food serving counters (steamtables) on each floor. A buildout in each dining room on every floor is needed for water lines, additional electrical power, refrigeration, storage and countertop work space.
The second phase of this fine dining experience is to purchase new tables that are accommodating to all of our residents. Currently, we have standardized heavy weight tables which seat four, however, they are all at one height. Our residents are of different body types and heights, many are ambulatory and others need the assistance of wheelchairs. It is very difficult to seat residents of varying heights and needs at our current dining tables. The new tables will be height adjustable, lightweight, yet durable, and have retractable wheels with locks. This will add an additional satisfaction component to our residents’ overall dining experience.
Additionally, to complete the dining experience atmosphere, we need to purchase new china, stemware, silverware and linens (tablecloths and napkins). With these purchases there are many advantages over our current system which include residents’ ability to select menu items, dining time flexibility for the residents, tableside service, piping hot food and efficient product delivery. The steam table system will assist us in eliminating the unwanted tag of institutionalized food service and bring us closer to our goal of providing a restaurant-style atmosphere, assuring dignity and dining pleasure, and enhancing our genuine hospitality.
The grant that we will receive from the Hellenic Foundation will not only assist with our Fine Dining Experience, but also puts us one step closer to accomplishing our overall goal of creating an exceptional living experience for all our beloved residents.