RENSSELAER — Franciscan Health Rensselaer will close its 21-bed AlternaCare unit after 35 years of operation on Friday, Oct. 2.

Current residents and their family members are being informed of the hospital’s decision, according to Franciscan Health officials.

“Franciscan Health Rensselaer leaders and staff will be working to coordinate the transfer of residents to a new location which will best fit their needs,” officials said in a press release on Thursday.

AlternaCare, a licensed residential unit, was opened in 1985 and has served the surrounding community with varying levels of assistance. It began as a safe place for residents who needed minor assistance in their living space but who still had moderate levels of independence.

It currently occupies the second floor of the hospital.

Over the years, the unit began to offer more and more aid to its residents, including round-the-clock specialized nursing services; occupational, physical and speech therapy; consultation with physicians; emergency care and more. Residents of the 21-bed unit enjoyed recreational activities and had the option of short- and long-term stays.

“There have been many testimonials from families and friends describing how important the specialized care has been for their loved ones,” officials add. “Additionally, residents and their families often relayed how close they’d grown to staff, ‘they are like family’ — who had continually gone above and beyond in their work.”

AlternaCare originally filled a hole in the community regarding specialized living care. Currently, in the Rensselaer community, there are many more agencies available to help those needing care in their own homes.

In addition, the area has other facilities that vary in the level of care they can provide and are available to meet the needs of the residents from AlternaCare. While AlternaCare was completely self-pay, residents may be able to find other facilities and support which provide more financial assistance.

“Franciscan Health Rensselaer is the leading healthcare provider in the surrounding area. Closing the AlternaCare unit was a hard decision to make, but Franciscan Health Rensselaer plans to focus on strengthening its core services in order to best serve and support the community,” the press release said.

“Franciscan Health is grateful for the hard work and dedication of its staff to the residents and families the AlternaCare unit was privileged to serve over the years.”

Franciscan provides many other services, including emergency care, an intensive care unit (ICU), medical/surgical/pediatric, outpatient and Inpatient surgery and physical, occupational and speech therapy services.

Among its specialty services are oncology, cardiology, orthopedics, general surgery, joint and spine, urology, MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment), neurology, nephrology, pulmonology and wound care.

It also provides sleep studies, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and respiratory care as well as Swingbed, which provides inpatient skilled services following a hospitalization.

Other services include radiology such as CT, MRI, ultrasound, digital mammography, nuclear medicine, bone density and echocardiography; an anticoagulation clinic; wellness/education; and diabetes education

For questions, call Carlos Vasquez, Vice President and COO, Franciscan Health Rensselaer, at (219) 866-2020.

About Franciscan Alliance

The Franciscan Alliance healthcare ministry began in Lafayette, Ind., in 1875. Today, Franciscan Alliance is one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the Midwest with 12 hospital campuses, more than 19,000 employees and a number of nationally recognized Centers of Health Care Excellence. Hospitals include: Franciscan Health Carmel; Franciscan Health Crawfordsville; Franciscan Health Crown Point; Franciscan Health Dyer; Franciscan Health Hammond; Franciscan Health Indianapolis; Franciscan Health Lafayette; Franciscan Health Michigan City; Franciscan Health Mooresville; Franciscan Health Munster; Franciscan Health Olympia Fields (IL); and Franciscan Health Rensselaer.