CLINTON – Staff at Prairie Hills of Clinton believe the environment offered to residents has enabled the facility to reach 15 years in the Clinton community and expand since its opening.
Prairie Hills of Clinton is an assisted living facility with 74 units, including 20 memory care beds, said marketing coordinator Cyndi Koenes. More than 20 rooms were added to the establishment five to ten years ago. The facility originally had fewer than 50 rooms, said maintenance manager Todd Schmoll.
Schmoll noted that Prairie Hills staff consider all tenants to be family. Staff treat tenants like family and tenants treat staff like family, he said.
âI think it’s the opening of this building that helps us a lot,â Schmoll said. âYou don’t feel like nothing against the other establishments I’ve been to, but some of them feel like when you walk in you walk in like a motel. Well, everything is open. It just doesn’t look like a motel to me.
Housekeeper Diane Shirley has worked in Prairie Hills for 14 of Prairie Hills’ 15 years of operation. Before working in Prairie Hills, she worked for 15 years in a hotel. After helping an older man who was staying at the hotel with hotel coffee and donuts, Shirley decided it was time to change jobs. Soon after, she started working at Prairie Hills in Clinton.
âSometimes they’ll ask me to do more, which is totally okay,â said Shirley. âSo we just like to figure out what each one needs and what we want and go from there. If they don’t want to be in the room, I’m quite willing to wait for them to go somewhere and clean their room afterward. If they want me to be in there, that’s fine too. I try to be as flexible as possible.
Prairie Halls tenants walk the halls, she said. They also have a yard and a fish pond in the facility, she added.
Schmoll underlined the freedom offered to the tenants of the establishment.
âWe don’t put them in their rooms and say they have to stay there,â Schmoll said. âWe make them feel like it’s their home and we’re here to help them instead of it’s our home and you are just here as a guest. “
There are many programs available to residents of Prairie Hills, said Becky Hull. Hull is responsible for operations at Prairie Hills. Programs offered include Live to Be Healthy, an exercise program for seniors offered three times a week; a beautician who comes to Prairie Hills twice a week; in-house physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy offered by Northern Iowa Therapy; and a twice-weekly music therapy program for memory care, Hull said.
At the height of COVID-19, the restrictions at the facility were onerous, Hull said. They had to take online classes for music therapy and couldn’t do Live to be Healthy, she said. They were also not allowed to have an esthetician in the facility, she said. The northern Iowa therapy group was always able to come in to work with residents, Hull said.
There were also restrictions on residents who see their families, Hull said.
âWe all came together and worked very well as a team to make things as transparent as possible for our residents,â said Hull. âBecause in this year and a half, probably a good year, they haven’t been allowed to see their families. “
Visitors are now allowed into the facility as long as the facility remains negative for COVID-19, she said.