Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:41 PM on Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Long Term Care gets new wheels



Photo by Michael Armstrong

South Peninsula Hospital staff, family and a resident from Long Term Care pose at ribbon cutting ceremonies for the inaugural ride of the new Long Term Care van. From left to right in front are Nancy Lander, Long Term Care director Sue Shover and Teddie O'Malley. In back are Garrett Austin, Susan Hubbard, Geri Abeldgaard, and SPH CEO Robert Letson.

On a sunny day with a small group of appreciative residents watching, staff with South Peninsula Hospital's Long Term Care facility dedicated its new 2010 Chevrolet Odyssey wheelchair van. And then they took it for a spin. The $80,000 van, purchased with capital funds from SPH service area tax dollars, has seats for four to five passengers and space for four passengers in wheelchairs. That's an improvement over the old 1995 van, which only had space for two passengers in wheelchairs. The new van also accommodates larger wheelchairs and has a rear-entry lift that makes loading easier for caretakers. "Unless you're in a wheelchair or can't drive, you can't appreciate what this means to us," said Long Term Care resident Edwina "Teddie" O'Malley. "It's a way to be mobile again."

Resident Ilse Lee formally cut the ribbon on the van. Driver Susan Hubbard, Long Term Care activities coordinator, took families and residents on an inaugural trip. Joining her were Abe and Geri Abeldgaard, Leonard Gross, Lucy Wasco and Pat Oskolkoff.

O'Malley noted one feature she's looking forward to: a smoother ride. Four-wheel drive on the old van made for a rough ride. Automatic tire chains will provide traction on icy roads without sacrificing comfort.