Eventide to consolidate Devils Lake care centers amid workforce shortages
Eventide announced its plan to consolidate its two Devils Lake care centers in a Nov. 10 press release.
DEVILS LAKE – The shortage of nursing home staff in North Dakota is pushing Eventide Senior Living Communities to accelerate a plan to consolidate its care center operations in Devils Lake.
According to CEO Jon Riewer, Eventide was planning to consolidate its two Devils Lake care centers eventually, but workforce challenges aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed the organization to make changes sooner than anticipated.
“This was always in the mix, to consolidate the campus, but I thought maybe we had a few more years to put this together,” said Riewer. “But the time is now, simply put, because we’ve got to have one team operationally and be as efficient as we can with the staff that are available in that community.”
Eventide announced its plan for consolidation and renovations in Devils Lake in a Nov. 10 press release. According to the release, starting in January, all of Eventide’s operations at its Eventide Devils Lake Care Center in downtown Devils Lake will move to the Eventide Heartland campus, which houses the Heartland Care Center and Heartland Court Apartments.
The renovation will have two parts. First, a new wing will be built on the west side the care center in the place of Heartland Court #1. Second, a 28-unit, two-story senior living apartment will be built to connect Heartland Courts #2, #3 and #4.
The 14 residents currently living in Court #1 will be relocated to one of the other Heartland Court buildings during construction, and all of the residents displaced by construction will be moved on Eventide’s dime.
While moving and construction will create inconveniences for residents and staff alike, Eventide is doing what it can to make the changes easier.
“We will work with each resident and their family to ensure a safe and sensible move,” said Nathan Trottier, executive director of the Eventide locations in Devils Lake in the release. “All of our team members at the Eventide Devils Lake Care Center will be able to transfer to Eventide Heartland and we are committed to making this a smooth transition for everyone involved.”
The consolidation will eliminate the need for doubles of positions like director of nursing or administrator in the community. With only the Heartland campus to staff, Eventide will just need one of each.
“The only change in our plan was we would have preferred a few more years down the road to kind of catch our breath financially, but we’ll never do that if we can’t staff the needs that we have currently,” said Riewer.
The renovations to the Heartland Court buildings will maximize staff efficiency in the senior living portion of the campus as well. Even though Heartland Courts #2, #3 and #4 are close in proximity, they are not physically connected, meaning each 18-unit building has to be run as its own system.
“Even though they’re walking distance apart, they’re not physically connected. You can’t staff them the same, you can’t do meals the same – it creates barriers in our part of the world with weather,” said Riewer.
Connecting the three existing buildings with an apartment building will give staff the ability to feed residents in the entire complex out of one kitchen and provide activities to more than 18 residents at a time.
The Heartland campus will also host the Sanford clinic in Devils Lake. Sanford announced the clinic in July and it is already under construction. Riewer says it is scheduled to open in March.
He said having the Sanford clinic on site will be convenient for Eventide residents and staff, but will also help fill a gap in providers he sees in the region.
“So if we’re a part of that problem-solving by creating a space for them to practice in, I’m happy to do it because the community needs more providers,” said Riewer. “The fact that it’s an added convenience to be on our location, which means it might prevent one of our residents from having to get in the van to go downtown or go to Grand Forks, all the better.”
After operations are moved out of the downtown campus, Eventide plans to find a new purpose for the location. Riewer said the building could potentially become the new location for Eventide’s child care services or other community service operations.