A steady drizzle on the heels of severe thunderstorms earlier in the week was a fitting backdrop as Homeland Center unveiled its new $700,000 emergency generator that will enhance the safety its 145 residents on May 17, 2018.
“We realized we had to, in the best of interest of our residents, become self-sustaining to the greatest degree that we possibly could,’’ said Barry Ramper II, Homeland’s President and CEO during a recent ceremony at Homeland Center in the Chet Henry Pavilion.
“Families trust us to care for their loved ones,’’ Ramper said. “That responsibility guides everything we do.’’
The new 500 kW generator and associated electrical upgrades replace Homeland’s more than 20-year-old generators and is large enough to allow for future expansion of the long-term care facility at its original Fifth Street site in Harrisburg.
Ramper thanked Dauphin County and Harrisburg officials, as well as the Kline Foundation, Wells Foundation and individual donors for the support that made the project possible.
Founded in 1867 and celebrating its 150th anniversary, Homeland is one of the few skilled nursing care facilities in the Central Pennsylvania region to earn the CMS Five-Star rating repeatedly. Homeland also is among only 15 percent of the more than 15,000 facilities nationwide to receive U.S News & World Report Best Nursing Homes 2017-18 – earning a perfect 5.0 rating two years in a row.
“It was great to see that U.S. News and World Report recognized what we all know, that Homeland is a top-notch facility,’’ said Dauphin County Commissioners’ Chairman Jeff Haste, who declared May 17 “Homeland Center Day in Dauphin County.’’
Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse praised Homeland Center not only for the care it provides to its residents but also for its commitment to the neighborhood.
“Homeland committed to staying here and developing here and growing here,’’ said Papenfuse, who supported Homeland’s county grant application.
“This is a wonderful facility, providing such essential and important services to our community,’’ he said. “You all have been the rock of this neighborhood. As we look to the future, we celebrate our long, historical relationship and say ‘thank you’ to Homeland.’’
Resident Phoebe Berner thanked all those whose contributions made the new generator possible, which she said is vital to those who call Homeland home.
“Nothing could be more important than an emergency generator. All we need to do is think of the elevators, three meals a day for 145 residents, heating, the laundry and bathing, not to mention lights, refrigerators and computers,’’ Berner said. “We are more secure and safe than ever, and we thank you very much for your great contribution.’’
In keeping with its goal to meet the region’s needs, Homeland also offers services to help seniors wherever they call home.
Homeland HomeCare assists seniors with daily tasks such as meal preparation and transportation, while Homeland HomeHealth provides doctor-ordered medical assistance, ranging from providing intravenous therapy and other medications to physical therapy. Additionally, Homeland Hospice serves 14 of the midstate’s counties providing compassionate care for patients and families to make the most of their time together.
The new generator is only one of the ways Homeland Center is safeguarding its residents.
Homeland’s planning includes coordination with the county Emergency Management Department, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and the federal Department of Homeland Security. Homeland also is a member of the South Central PA Healthcare Coalition Long Term Care Subcommittee.
The fact that many of Homeland’s 255 staff members live within 10 blocks of the facility is a tremendous asset. Employees can quickly respond to an emergency, even when not on duty. Homeland is prepared to accommodate the staff's children at the facility to keep personnel on hand around the clock in major emergencies.
Donald Schell, Vice Chair of Homeland Center’s Board of Trustees, said the new generator was essential to meet the facility’s current and future needs. In addition to providing quality care for residents, Schell said Homeland provides needed employment opportunities in uptown Harrisburg and has been a critical part of the neighborhood’s resurgence.
“It’s been exciting to me to see the changes that have occurred in the healthcare industry and be part of Homeland’s success in adjusting and meeting the needs of the people in the community and of our residents,’’ Schell said. “I think Homeland is probably one of the best-kept secrets in Central Pennsylvania.’’