Spokane Journal of Business

Group home veteran adds North Idaho facility

15-bed Peterson Place open near Hayden Lake

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-—Mike McLean
Heidi Peterson has acquired the former Lark’s Haven building in Hayden. As Peterson Place Assisted Living, the facility serves clients with memory care needs.

Peterson Place Adult Family Home, which has Spokane roots, has expanded to Hayden with its acquisition of a 15-bed assisted-living facility there.

Heidi Peterson, the owner, has operated smaller adult family homes for 16 years and owns two such facilities, each licensed for six beds, in the Spokane area. She’s currently spending most of her time at the Hayden facility, which does business as Peterson Place Assisted Living.

The Hayden facility, like Peterson Place Adult Family Homes, specializes in serving clients with dementia.

Peterson opened the 9,800-square-foot Hayden assisted-living facility at 1027 E. Honeysuckle, near Hayden Lake, in November.

“This is a bigger setting, but it’s still a low resident-to-staff ratio, which allows more personalized care,” she says.

Peterson Place Assisted Living has a staff of eight, including Peterson as the administrator.

She says the building is an optimal size.

“It’s still a home, and it doesn’t feel institutional,” Peterson says. “We can offer all the services that we feel good about doing.”

A nurse visits the facility weekly and is available at all hours as needed, she says.

“Also, a nurse practitioner from Heritage Health comes in as a primary care provider for residents,” she says.

Peterson Place works with Reliant Rx, a Spokane-based specialty pharmacy that serves long-term care facilities throughout the Inland Northwest.

“They’re here sometimes a couple of times a day,” she says.

Peterson Place keeps a structured schedule with regular meal times. Meals are planned by a dietitian and prepared by staff.

Residents are mostly in their late 80s to 90s, Peterson says, adding, “We’ve had people as young as 69 with early-onset dementia.”

Most Peterson Place Assisted Living residents come from the local area, although two are from California, she says.

“We’ve had inquiries from California residents who have kids here,” she says. “Care is much more expensive in California.”

Peterson Place Assisted Living fees start at $3,200 a month for the basic level of care. The fee schedule increases as residents need more help with dressing, bathing, feeding, and toileting, she says. The costs top out at about $6,000 a month for total care.

The rates are similar for the Peterson Place Adult Family Home facilities located at 1812 N. Garry Lane, in north Spokane, and 227 E. Midway Road, in Colbert., she says. The adult group homes, which each have three employees, also specialize in serving clients who have dementia.

“The cost is comparable, if not less, than other assisted-living facilities,” she says adding that it’s considerably lower than the cost of a nursing home, “And we provide end-of-life care.”

In her experience with adult family homes, the average length of stay has been nearly three years.

“I’ve had people in the Spokane area live with us eight to 10 years,” she says.

Peterson Place Assisted Living has a lot of indoor open space in which residents are encouraged to participate in activities, including cooking, gardening, and socializing.

The kitchen area is set up with counters and stools reminiscent of a 1950s-era diner.

Two hallways lead to courtyards that many residents visit daily as the weather allows. Some hallways are connected, allowing residents to wander the secure facility without feeling locked in.

The facility’s 15 rooms are the size of a typical small bedroom, averaging about 160 square feet. Some have private baths and some baths are shared between two resident rooms.

“It’s not apartment style,” she says.

Rooms are furnished with hospital beds and vintage dressers and night stands, although residents are welcome to bring in their own furniture.

Peterson says her first experience with long-term care was as a certified nursing assistant working at skilled nursing facilities for eight years.

“I found I connected well with clients with dementia,” she says. “It’s been a love of mine, and there’s a huge need.”

She also worked for a while as a physical therapy assistant.

“I got laid off, so that was my first leap into this,” Peterson says. “I opened my first home in 2000.”

She was checking the market last year to acquire a third adult family home in the Spokane area when she learned the Hayden facility was for sale.

“The building came up for sale, and I was excited to have a number of people under one roof,” Peterson says.

The facility had operated as Lark’s Haven assisted-living facility under its previous ownership, although it had a younger clientele that required less assistance on average than the Peterson Place clientele.

“A lot of them relocated,” Peterson says. “Only one resident stayed on through the transition.”

Peterson Place Assisted Living is licensed for 16 beds and had 10 residents as of earlier this month.

After she bought the building, Peterson says renovations to repair water damage slowed Peterson Place’s ability to take in clients.

“For the first few months, we were hardly accepting residents,” she says. “We still don’t have a sign out, but I think we’re doing well with our amount of activity.”

Peterson says she envisions more growth for Peterson Place Assisted Living, which has more than 2 acres of land.

“We could add on two more buildings,” she says. “The goal is having a community that feels like home.”

Prior to acquiring the assisted-living facility, Peterson says she was unfamiliar with areas of neighboring North Idaho’s Kootenai County outside of the immediate vicinities of Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

“I didn’t understand where Hayden was,” she says.

Now she’s enamored with the neighborhood’s rural hometown feel.

“It’s only two blocks from the lake, and kids go by on their bicycles all the time on the way to the beach,” she says. “I didn’t really see that in Spokane. It’s been a great environment here so far.”

Mike McLean
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Reporter Mike McLean covers real estate and construction at the Journal of Business. A multipurpose fisherman and vintage record album aficionado, Mike has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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