A Center for the Obese in western Illinois

Knoxville, IL – The Knox County Nursing Home can move forward with the creation of a specialized care center for the obese.

Nursing Home Administrator Marianne Wiesen says a $200,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health will cover the cost of equipment for 7 rooms of the bariatrics center. "Knox County is, excuse the pun, a growing county as is the rest of the nation," says Wiesen. "If we can provide safety for the resident and safety for the employee because we have the right equipment in place, that's the critical factor."

"As you get larger, all of your care needs expand," says Wiesen. "You just can't safely move someone who is 400 or 500 or 600 pounds without the proper lifts and the proper education of your staff. It's all about providing that safe environment."

Wiesen hopes to receive $700,000 of federal earmark money to pay for the cost to create a new wing for the bariatrics center. Wiesen says the new wing will include 7 specialized bariatric beds and 13 rehabilitation beds.

The overall cost of the bariatrics center is $900,000. Wiesen hopes the center can be open by the spring of 2011.