New Wheels for Hillcrest

While cruising the streets of Round Lake Beach, if you happen upon a shiny blue and white vehicle, sporting smiling faces and the Hillcrest logo, you’ve just caught a glimpse of our brand new transport van.

Just last week, Hillcrest took possession of a custom, lowered floor conversion van for the transportation of our residents.

On average, Hillcrest provides 3-5 rides per day to and from doctor’s appointments and errands like resident shopping. This puts a lot of wear and tear on any vehicle, and it was time to make an investment in something new.

With the unique needs of our residents in mind, selecting the right vehicle for the job was quite a task. With some research, we were able to find the perfect solution, something that would be safe and comfortable for our residents, and for the Hillcrest staff.

Originally a 6-cylinder Dodge Grand Caravan, the new van was modified to fit up to seven ambulatory (passengers who can walk), or up to five ambulatory passengers and one wheelchair passenger.

Here are some of the factors we considered while seeking a new van:


Safety is number one when it comes to anything Hillcrest provides to residents.

This new van meets all meets all federal motor vehicle safety standards and includes other safety features such as:

  • 4-wheel disc brakes with 4-wheel anti-lock brake system
  • Front and side airbags
  • Electronic stability control


Many of our residents are wheelchair bound, or need one when leaving the facility. Getting in and out of a vehicle can be a challenge for individuals with medical needs. This new van offers:

  • ADA compliant lowered floor, from rear bumper up to the second row
  • 60” x 34” spring-assisted ramp with 4” guide rails, one of the best-built ramps in the industry
  • Easy-to-operate manual ramp with 1,000lb. capacity (avoiding one of top reasons for downtime)
  • 58.5 inches of headroom for wheelchair passengers, which is much roomier for passengers


Getting where you need to go safely is important, but so is being comfortable for the ride. This new van has several features that make it very comfortable for every user.

  •  Sliding doors on both sides of the van for easy access
  • Passenger assist handles for entering and exiting
  • Three temperature zones for comfort of all the passengers

In addition, it offers more than 14” of additional space for wheelchair passengers, ensuring that we can now accommodate 99% of the wheelchairs and scooters on the market today. This space also makes it easier to drive wheelchairs directly into place, vs. the twisting and turning done in the past.

The automatically retractable wheelchairs tie downs (with lap and shoulder belts) also make it much easier to secure passengers, even before entering the van.

The vehicle also has vinyl floors and wall covering for easy cleaning.

The old van, our 1993 Dodge Maxiwagon, will now be used by the maintenance department.

And with the always interesting Chicago weather, we hope our passengers will appreciate the ability to get in to and out of the van much more quickly.