Eastern Minnesota

Eastern Minnesota

Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center offers compassionate nursing home care

Consistency in staffing builds close bonds between long-term care residents and staff. Carol Weber, CNA/TMA, and Harriet have gotten to know each other very well.
Open dining allows residents to wake and eat breakfast when they wish. Harriet is greeted with a warm hug from Cy Perara, dietary supervisor at Saint Elizabeth’s Health Care Center.

Fifteen years can make quite a difference in a nursing home’s environment. Just ask many of the employees and residents at Saint Elizabeth’s Health Care Center.

With 100 nursing home beds and 47 assisted living apartments, the very essence of Saint Elizabeth’s is caring for the aging. Like many skilled nursing facilities across the country, Saint Elizabeth’s has been transforming the climate and culture of the nursing home environment into what the industry calls “person-directed” or “resident-centered” care.

The principles of this culture promote the core values of choice, dignity, respect, self-determination and purposeful living. “By placing the needs and wants of residents at the center of all we do, we enable them to live fully in a homelike environment where their voices are heard and honored,” explains Rita Fox, vice president of long term care at Saint Elizabeth’s.

In addition to providing a pleasant-smelling, well-kept environment, the staff at Saint Elizabeth’s meets the needs of each patient in a caring and confidential manner. “Some residents like taking their medications with juice; others don’t,” explains Ann Matchey, RN. “It’s about giving our residents choices, giving them more control. Knowing their personal patterns and preferences helps improve their quality of life. It’s more than just good physical care.”

Saint Elizabeth’s also initiated consistency staffing – the same aides and nurses care for the same residents. Caregivers also work to understand and respect routines and rituals, and likes and dislikes. This atmosphere of familiarity reduces anxiety, fosters enhanced well-being and builds stronger connections and a sense of family.

The trend in nursing home care is changing with more of an emphasis on community-based care services like Lifeline, home care, telehealth and assisted living. These services delay admission into long-term care facilities. Today’s nursing home stay is much shorter.

Residents are often admitted for rehabilitation or end-of-life care. Another innovation getting rave reviews by residents and staff is the introduction of open dining. Some people are early risers and some are not.

“We are honoring the lifetime customs of our residents,” says Kristi Petersen, director of nursing. “We encourage residents to wake up when they want and eat breakfast when they wish. Our traditional practice of getting every resident up and serving breakfast at the same time has been replaced with customized choices.”

“Our residents deserve the highest level of care,” says Carolyn Greeley, LPN. “Respecting their dignity and appreciating them as unique individuals honors their presence and improves their quality of life.”

For Saint Elizabeth’s, the culture change is really just beginning. Early indicators show residents are happier and exhibit fewer behavioral issues, and staff members are more satisfied with their work environment.

“I’m proud of our staff,” adds Petersen. “They are embracing this new philosophy and everyone is reaping the benefits. Expectations are changing. Nursing homes of the past must be replaced with caring communities and loving homes. Saint Elizabeth’s is well on its way.”

For more information on Saint Elizabeth’s long-term care services, contact 651.565.5560.

Tasteful reasons to buy from Wabasha’s farmers’ markets

According to a 2007 study by Johns Hopkins University, only 11 percent of the people met both fruit and vegetable recommendations in their diets. Going to the local farmers’ market or growing your own is a simple way to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.

There are many reasons why buying fresh, local foods directly from our nearby farms and neighborhood gardens makes good sense. Here are five:

  1. Promote healthy food choices. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet decreases your risk for chronic diseases and is important to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
  2. You know where your food comes from. On average, supermarket produce travels about 2,000 miles. Buying directly from the farmer gives you the opportunity to find out how your food is grown.
  3. Local foods taste better and are better for you. Many farmers’ market vendors pick the produce the same day they sell it, which maximizes taste, freshness and nutritional value.
  4. Be green. Shipping food thousands of miles requires fuel. Buying locally grown foods reduces the carbon footprint and helps the environment.
  5. Enjoy variety! Buying fruits and vegetables from the farmers’ market can help you add variety to your plate.

Stop by the markets, meet the growers, and enjoy the flavor of FRESH! Wabasha’s Farmers’ markets are open weekly for the season every Thursday, Under the Bridge on Second Street, from 4 – 6:30 p.m.; and at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, every Monday from 3 – 5:30 p.m.

Total Knee Replacement Relieves Pain

John Edwards is the “go-to guy” at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center. He’s called on to fix and help with many things. When he retired from Wabasha County’s Highway Department, Edwards still had skills to offer and energy to burn. He joined Saint Elizabeth’s facilities /maintenance crew.

Working gave him great pleasure, but it also caused great pain.

An old knee injury had developed bone spurs, floating fragments and arthritis. Every step Edwards took reminded him that his own equipment needed repairs.

“The pain was getting to the point that I needed to do something,” Edwards recalls. “I had fallen on my knee 9 years ago. Over time, it just got worse.”

His appointment with Matthew Eich, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Fairview Red Wing Medical Center, revealed that Edwards needed a total joint replacement.

“By the time I saw Dr. Eich, my knee hurt pretty bad,” Edwards said. Within 2 weeks, Edwards was rolled into one of the new surgery suites at Saint Elizabeth’s. “Knowing I could have my surgery at Saint Elizabeth’s made it an easy decision,” he said. “I’ve never gone anywhere else for my health care.”

For Edwards, it was about comfort and confidence in the skills and expertise of his medical team. “It’s a place where everybody knows your name and everyone cares for your welfare,” Edwards said.

The day after surgery, Edwards started rehabilitation – moving the joint and building strength to minimize stiffness and promote healing.

As part of his rehab at Saint Elizabeth’s, Edwards used treadmills, Nusteps®, and the basement corridors to restore the full function of his knee. He was able to return to work in just 6 weeks.

For more information on total joint replacement at Saint Elizabeth’s, talk to your primary care provider.

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