Wellness, treatment could share Home space
Community center, new level of residential treatment discussed
The former Grundy County Home nursing facility may soon be in use again, but for a different purpose.
The facility, which is currently vacant, is now owned by Tony Baranski. Dr. Ronald Wuest, a psychiatrist and medical director for the Institute for Personal Development in Morris, is working with Baranski to turn the former nursing home into a wellness and treatment center.
Baranski and Wuest went before the Morris Planning Commission last month to preliminarily discuss the project. No action was taken then. They hope to go before the commission again this month with more specifics, Wuest said.
"This could be an innovative project for the community," he said.
The idea behind the wellness center portion is to be a community center of sorts. There would be fitness equipment, with personal trainers, life coaches, and wellness products available, as well as things to do for socializing, such as a pool table and a cafe area.
Wuest said he would also like to see it used for community classes and presentations.
The intent is not to charge the public for the community center side of things, Wuest said. The hope is to have community support and donations to get this part started.
He pictures it like a Starbucks and GNC with fitness equipment, he said.
"It'll be a one-stop community center for people to meet and embrace the community," Wuest said.
The treatment center portion, it will focus on four areas: obesity, smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, and mental health.
The obesity treatment will be for people with more than 5 or 10 pounds to lose, but not the morbidly obese, Wuest said. The center would help with the step before obesity, which is metabolic syndrome – a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
People would pay to stay there and get help with nutrition and exercise, Wuest said.
To quit smoking, the center would allow people to stay there to get through the hardest part, the first 30 to 60 days. For those fighting alcohol and drug abuse, the program also would be for patients to stay in the facility for a period of time.
Currently, people with mental health problems can either go to a hospital or be treated at the Institute for Personal Development, but in some cases they need more help than the institute, but not enough to be admitted to a hospital, Wuest said.
One in four people have mental health problems, he said.
"We've been in the community 22 years. We see about 4,000 visits every month for mental health or substance abuse," he added.
The center will be a new level of care. It is in-between outpatient care and hospital care, said Wuest. Right now, mental health care is drastically under-funded and, once a person's issues are no longer sever enough to be treated at a hospital, they are discharged to the street.
"There needs to be more services available," he continued.
Because the facility would have a variety of uses, it will likely be zoned as a planned unit development, said Bill Cheshareck, building and zoning officer.