YOUR HOMETOWN — Franklin: Long-Term Care In Need Of A Little TLC

Officials Counting On Fundraiser To Keep Pendleton Manor Doors Open

Posted: March 27, 2013

Pendleton Manor, a long-term care facility in Franklin, W.Va., is working toward a renovation to provide residents with more privacy and functional space, among other features. Carolyn Simmons, the manor's resource development coordinator, inspects a hole where brick is breaking away from the concrete wall. Structural repairs and technology upgrades are planned as part of the project. Photo by Joan Ashley / DN-R.
FRANKLIN, W.Va. — After 37 years of providing long-term care services to Franklin and the surrounding community, Pendleton Manor is in danger of closing if structural repairs and renovations don’t get under way soon.

That’s according to Pendleton County Commissioner Gene McConnell, who serves on a $3 million fundraising committee at the long-term care home for seniors.  

A Virginia engineering firm’s structural analysis of a section of the original building concluded that the brick face wall is separating from the concrete block base, both load-bearing parts of the structure.

The steel ties that connect the two are corroding and disintegrating. The loss of support is leading to structural instability, causing bulges and holes in the brick wall, McConnell said.

“If nothing is done and the building becomes unsafe, the state will close the facility,” McConnell said. “In addition to the structural issues, there are updated building and contemporary care standards that will be required once any modernization program is undertaken.”

Pendleton Manor opened in December 1975 as a community-owned not-for-profit organization. It is governed by an uncompensated board of directors comprised of Pendleton County residents. Its mission is simple: to ensure that senior citizens receive professional care while remaining close to home and family, McConnell said.

Managed by the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, a nonprofit based in Sioux Falls, S.D., the home is licensed to care for 91 residents and employs 145 full- and part-time staff with an annual payroll of $3.5 million.

In addition to long-term care, the facility offers additional services of home health care; physical, speech and occupational therapy, and cottages offered to clients by a purchase/buyback agreement.

Renovations are also needed to bring technology up-to-date. Today’s care requires more equipment and technical support than the building is equipped to handle, officials say. Bathrooms are too small to accommodate lifts used to reduce staff injuries, and rooms are too small for the beds needed for proper care, resource development coordinator Carolyn Simmons said.

“Old plumbing and electrical wiring can start causing problems. Also, years ago, people lived altogether differently in family situations with limited space. Now, everybody wants their own space, if possible,” Simmons noted.

Despite not having the most state-of-the-art facility, Pendleton Manor hasn’t skimped on ensuring the safety of its workers and residents. It received 2013 Safety and Health Recognition Achievement honors from the state Division of Labor Safety, which cited the facility as a model for work site safety and health.

The fundraising project and work on the building will come in three sequential stages to ensure minimal disruption to residents. The first will remodel the “200 Wing” of the building, and will include work on a bathing spa, rooms configured to provide more privacy and functional space, an updated nurses’ station and a central supply area.

The second phase will do the same for the “100 Wing” and include a living room to socialize with family and friends, a staff break room and storage space for resident-care equipment. The third phase will renovate and update the memory-care unit for residents with cognitive and memory problems.

Pendleton Manor is a 100 percent community-owned facility with no financial assistance available from the government or any other entity. Since 90 percent of the revenue is derived from Medicare and Medicaid, with an uncertain regulatory future, the board has decided that “going into debt is not an option,” McConnell said.

“Will the community step forward once again and act to preserve this vital component of Pendleton’s infrastructure?” McConnell asked. “Or will Pendleton Manor simply become another name on a list of businesses that ‘used’ to be here?”

Local officials are optimistic that residents will indeed come through with the generosity for which the region is known.

Contact Joan Ashley at 574-6200

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