2013 Inductee Beacom family helps create new Avera transition unit

Premier Bankcard CEO Miles Beacom found himself facing the same health care hurdle as many families a few years ago.

His father, Bart, needed hospice care. And there were no beds.

Avera Prince of Peace cobbled together a solution. A room in a different part of the facility was used with extra support.

“And it was great. He enjoyed the help,” Miles Beacom said. “About a week later (a hospice) room opened up and we asked if he wanted to move (and he didn’t).”

Bart Beacom passed away on Christmas Day, 2011, in the same facility.

“And his end of life care was incredible,” Miles Beacom said.

His wife, Lisa, also logged many hospital visits with her late father, Harold Reischl.

“We just really wanted to do something in memory of both,” Miles Beacom said.

That opportunity came in the form of the Beacom Transitional Care Unit, which opened recently as part of the Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community in southeast Sioux Falls.

The center can care for up to 24 patients who have specialized medical needs, including significant obesity, cognitive disabilities and other chronic medical conditions.

Finding the right place for such patients has been challenging, said Dr. Dave Kapaska, CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

He estimates social service workers regularly make up to 45 calls for such patients.

“We had patients in the hospital for 20, 30, 40 or even 100 days because no one could take care of them in an appropriate setting,” Kapaska said. “It’s an extraordinary obstacle.”

The newly renovated facility takes advantage of space left vacant by a recent addition at Prince of Peace.

The Beacom unit includes all private rooms with private bathrooms, dining spaces for socialization and connectivity to the larger Prince of Peace campus.

Several patients already have been admitted, and it’s expected to be fully operational with 42 staff by mid-December.

The $3 million project was covered in part by the Beacom’s undisclosed gift.

“I love it, because it’s really going to fill a void that’s been out there,” Beacom said. “What do you do in those in-between situations? We just didn’t have a place in the community for that, and there’s a huge need. They did it right. It’s very impressive.”

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