Dane County’s Badger Prairie Health Care Center Is Like Nursing Home On Steroids


Difficult decisions to make need not be dreadful ones thanks to Dane County’s Badger Prairie Health Care Center.

If you are like me then you have a certain image in your mind of what a nursing home looks and smells like.  To be honest, far too often that image is still an accurate one, especially in small rural areas.

But in Dane County there is a bright and noteworthy exception to the ingrained images of nursing homes that deserves praise and mention.  Thanks to the commitment of taxpayers to put our money where our mouths are this area has nothing short of a nursing home on steroids.

That is a most remarkable achievement that makes it easier for all involved when making tough decisions.

Badger Prairie Health Care Center is a brand new facility that cost over $22 million and opened earlier this year.  It made me think of the grand Hospice Care building in Fitchburg.  Each facility has been able to transform and soften the rougher edges off tough decisions with the use of design and character of a building.  As such, though it seems impossible to be impressed with a nursing home, after touring Badger Prairie that is exactly how I felt.

Best of all I was made more easy with the decision that had to be made due to the place being staffed with some very commendable people.

James and I have sought out the best care available over the past number of years for a friend who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  As this most frustrating, unforgivable, and damning disease continues to take control of our friend more advanced skilled nursing services are required.

Last week after having visited a number of community-based residential facilities in Madison and the surrounding area I made a phone call to Badger Prairie.  It was late in the day, and the places we had already looked at were coming up short in terms of where we would feel comfortable in placing our friend.

So shortly before 4 P.M. I called the Director of Social Services at Badger Prairie and asked if there was any way to see the facility that evening.  I would accommodate in any way if we could take a tour.

I explained a bit of the back story which involved seeking guardianship of our friend in court this week, his being placed at the VA hospital while we sought a safe home for him, and the clock that was ticking.

With compassion and professionalism I was informed that she did not have kids at home that evening and a tour could be arranged.  Later she commented that the care we showed for our friend was obvious, as was the stress level of making a good decision over his future.  James and I have taken on this task as volunteers and are committed to following through as best we can.

From that point forward things moved quickly.

Clean and fresh surroundings greeted us, along with all the services one would need from barbers to dentistry all under one roof.

I was also very impressed with the ‘green’ technology that has been used to not only help the planet, but also be economical for Dane County taxpayers.

A solar hot water heater warms water used for laundry, showers, and baths.  More than 100 geo-thermal wells were drilled at the site to pull up water from the earth to help heat and cool the site.  These wells are all 300 feet deep and will reduce the need to run costly air conditioners and heaters by helping control the inside temperature.

As always I somehow latch onto odd facts, and this experience was no different.  Most will know that Badger Prairie is one of the oldest, continually operating health care facilities in Wisconsin.  That is very impressive.

Which leads me to my historical trivia angle to this story.  During the Civil War this center helped Civil War widows and their children with their  health care needs.

In a few hours this will be home for our friend.

We think a wise and medically prudent decision was made.

A sincere thanks to those at Badger Prairie who made a tough decision not be a dreadful one.

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