Greater Peoria Metro Area, IL

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

A Community of Care


By Lori Lovely

Retired contractor and WWII veteran Karl Schmidt lived in a comfortable house in Peoria, but when balance issues and pain in his feet caused difficulty in walking, his two daughters suggested a move to a residential facility. Taking their advice, he moved into an apartment in Riverview Senior Living Community last June. “They take care of me,” he reports.

Taking care of residents begins with the choice of tasteful studios; one- and two-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom suites, all of which include fully equipped kitchens, one or two full baths, emergency call service, and 24-hour maintenance. Services range from onsite laundry facilities and weekly housekeeping to transportation and a restaurant providing three meals a day.

In addition to the services provided, ancillary services visit the facility, such as local banks, and a podiatrist. A home care agency is onsite, as is The Notions Store and Café, where residents can purchase toiletries, cards, and snacks. “There’s no reason to leave the community,” says Dawn Stroup, Business Development Specialist. “It’s all in one place.”

Under One Roof

Building a continuum of care in one centralized location is key to Riverview’s success. The senior living community is just one component provided by Riverview, a branch of HCR ManorCare, a leading provider of short-term, post-hospital services and long-term care, with a network encompassing more than 500 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and hospice and home health care agencies.

The East Peoria campus includes Heartland Riverview for short-term rehab (30 days or less), and is adding an assisted living facility. All three will be connected, enabling patients to “stay under the same roof, eat in the same dining room, and continue to participate in activities,” explains Jennifer Haag, Admissions Director.

Other benefits of the arrangement include the ability to continue outpatient follow-up care with the same therapists. Because the rehab facility is attached to the independent living facility, the patient and spouse can continue to see one another and do things together during the recuperation period. “The only difference is that [the patient] will be sleeping in a different room while receiving therapy,” Haag notes.

She estimates that 10-20 percent of patients in the skilled nursing facility come from the independent living apartments, but if not, there are apartments available for loved ones to remain close as patients recover. Similarly, if the long-term plan is to go home, but the patient needs additional time, staying in the short-term apartments eases the transition.

Over the River
Just across the river, Heartland Healthcare Center-Peoria offers short-term rehabilitation and a secure memory care unit. The Arcadia Memory Care Wing is a safe, secure, low-stress environment for people with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, according to Doug Ingersoll, Arcadia Unit Director. Compassionate, highly trained staff help patients manage symptoms in a structured setting that includes an activities program designed to stimulate cognition. “We strive to create moments of joy [for] all of our patients each and every day.”

By emphasizing relationship-based care that encompasses a family-oriented environment, Heartland Healthcare provides an optimal patient experience. With advanced therapy techniques and equipment, and a dietician on staff to provide proper nutrition, patients recover and return home more quickly.

Rehabilitation services ensure long-term positive results after patients have gone home. “Services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and respiratory therapy,” recounts Shaundra Draper, Director of Rehabilitation. Electrical stimulation, shortwave diathermy, ultrasound, virtual reality, and surface electromyography biofeedback complement traditional therapy approaches. “We have areas designed to allow patients to work in realistic situations, including the kitchen, laundry, and outdoor mobility.”

Reputation of Success
Both Heartland Healthcare of Peoria and Heartland Riverview serve as “bridges” from hospital to home. “We are known for our post-acute care and for getting people back to their lives sooner,” Stroup indicates.

To achieve that goal, “therapy is the main part of every patient’s day,” Haag says. “We were the first organization in the area to develop a short-term post-acute rehabilitation center. We have been rehabbing-to-home for many years, and our experience has made us a preferred provider for the local hospital systems.”

Heartland has many long-term employees, including nurses certified in wound care and lymphedema. In addition to employing highly trained medical staff, they make use of cutting-edge technology. They are the only facility in the area to offer Omni-VR, a virtual therapy similar to a video game system. While the patients play games, it records their movements. Similarly, the Synchrony Speech program allows speech therapists to gauge the strength of a patient’s swallow, and Saebo helps build strength and coordination in hands and fingers.

Since his arrival, Schmidt has been working with a therapist. “I’m thinking of going [out] for the Olympics,” he jokes.

Active Lifestyles
Schmidt’s comment about the Olympics may have been facetious, but Haag says, “We take pride in patient outcomes.” She has witnessed the transformation of patients. “They aren’t in good shape at arrival, but often walk out the door.”

The same pride is put into practice at the senior living facility, where the age ranges from 65 to 106. “A lot of places offer similar services,” Stroup reflects, “but we take it to another level.” The onsite restaurant offers a full menu. Transportation is available for more than just doctor appointments, covering a wide area any day of the week. “We take residents to church or shopping.”

Riverview’s customized care allows residents to take advantage of the amenities they want, while remaining as independent as possible. “Some still drive,” Stroup indicates. Some prefer to cook in their apartment, or remain involved with their old communities. “They can pick and choose activities for socialization.”

Judy Kailey, Activity Director (who has worked at Riverview for 21 years), says the staff encourages socialization and that they try to accommodate residents’ interests. “Our goal is to make their lives comfortable and pleasant — physically, spiritually, and emotionally.”

An exercise room is complemented by a chair dancing program that allows residents with balance issues to improve their strength and mobility. Bible study sessions take place in the onsite chapel. The library offers a computer and a talking book program for residents with vision issues.

Games and movies are always popular. So are visits from local schools and organizations. The monthly men’s get-together is well-attended. “We have 29 veterans at Riverview,” Kailey counts. “Karl will share his experiences during our Veteran’s Day program in November.”

A Marine serving in the intelligence department from 1942 to 1945 in Guadalcanal, Guam and Iwo Jima, Japan, Schmidt was awarded three purple hearts. His war stories are riveting, and have helped him make new friends. “I’ve met a lot of nice people,” he says, adding that it’s a “big relief” that meals are provided. “I’m doing a lot better since I moved. The people make me feel at home.”

Important as the amenities are, Stroup believes the people make the real difference. “There’s a small community feel here. Everybody knows everybody.”

For more information on HCR-ManorCare, visit  or contact one of our facilities directly.