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Residents of the rehabilitation center use the chapel room. The stained glass windows are from Good Samaritan's previous building.

The Good Samaritan Society in Beatrice is striving to obtain a Baldrige Gold Excellence in Quality Award from the American Health Care Association.

The award is given to long term and post-acute care services that show superior performance in leadership, strategic planning and customer and staff satisfaction. It is only given to a handful of facilities across the country each year.

Good Samaritan has already received the Bronze Commitment to Quality and Silver Achievement in Quality awards.

“It’s a great way to establish quality in the care and services that we provide,” said Correne Adams, GSS Beatrice’s Administrator.

Good Samaritan is a not for profit, mission-focused corporation with 240 locations that have been serving throughout the U.S. for nearly 100 years.

The Beatrice location has been active for 60 years and employs 124 people between their assisted living facility and rehabilitation center.

The assisted living center focuses on providing help with medicine and meals, and has staff available 24 hours a day to socialize with the residents and handle emergencies.

The rehabilitation center includes two houses that focus on long term, traditional nursing home care, one that’s focused on memory care and one that’s focused on post-acute care, which happens after a patient receives a short-term treatment for a severe injury, illness or urgent medical condition.

“We’ve found it to be a really great benefit, because with healthcare hospitals are having to discharge sooner,” Adams said. “Sometimes people are not really quite ready to return home, and so it gives them the opportunity to get rehab with others with similar goals, and to be able to return back home.”

Adams said she thinks both spaces benefit from having a continuum of care.

“Anybody that’s working in that house can provide all aspects of care except for the more-skilled RN level,” Adams said. “That just provides the ability to provide that consistency.”

Adams said there is a clinician and nurse practitioner at the facility Monday through Friday who oversee the majority of the residents.

“That is a nice piece, because people have that access to their physician when they need it. They’re not having to wait to get an appointment,” Adams said.

Recently, GSS purchased a treadmill originally designed for astronauts, as it fills with air to change the amount of weight people feel while walking.

“It’s good for people that have weight-bearing restrictions,” said Robin Gascon, director of resource development and marketing. “If, after surgery, somebody only has 20 percent weight bearing, you don’t really have to think about how to put 20 percent down, it does it for you. You put these biking-short type of things on, zip in, it fills up with air and then it’s just a normal treadmill.

“There’s cameras on the side and front where a therapist can look and watch the gait pattern, and tell people how they have to tweak their walk or put their outside foot in, stuff like that. It’s really an amazing thing. It cost about $30,000 that we did with gift funds, so as a non-profit, we’re kind of excited about having that here.”

On Jan. 1, Good Samaritan merged with Sanford Health.

“The benefits of that is having resources to clinical expertise and those types of things,” Adams said. “Nationally there’s been a struggle with long term care reimbursement and facilities being able to stay afloat. I think having the resources and that kind of diversification is going to only benefit what we do and the people we serve and give us a wider range of opportunity to make an impact.

Adams said Home Care of Southeast Nebraska also helps with caring for people in Gage County.

“If a person is able to return home but still needs some assistance with certain things, they can come in and provide that,” Adams said. “So that whole continuum of care just gives us the flexibility to provide services to the person no matter where they’re at, and kind of give them priority. If somebody at one center needs services at the other, they kind of are the first person to be on that list. They move up to the top because they’re already in our system.”

Adams stressed that the facilities have a household concept, with private rooms and bathrooms.

“We’re a place for people to live and to thrive and to just reach their maximum potential,” Adams said. “Often, people might have kind of a negative feeling about coming into this environment, but I have seen so many people that were trying to make it at home. They’re alone, they’re lonely. The kids are busy, they try to help where they can but they can’t always. Being in a mature environment where they have that consistency of care, they’re getting their medications the way they need to. They’re eating well. They’re able to socialize with others, and it just makes their lives so much better.”

“We try to give them that feeling of independence and privacy that people want. I think a lot of nursing homes, unfortunately, use the old kind of set up where you might have a roommate. Who wants to have a roommate when you’ve been living independently how many years? We’ve taken that issue away with the private rooms, so now that’s not a problem.”

Gascon added that privacy is something the organization takes seriously.

 “I think the private rooms is key,” Gascon said.  “I think the people that come here, their family is impressed because they start to bounce back and they thrive. It’s a nice place for them. Some people come here and think that they’ll want to go back home, but they feel so good when they’re here they end up wanting to stay. It’s nice to see people are comfortable enough to say ‘I feel good here, and I want to stay here.'"

Gascon and Adams explained some of the amenities the facilities have, including restaurant-style meals cooked in-house, made to order breakfast, sitting areas, a private dining room, and separate entrances to each house so guests don’t have to walk through the entire building.

The rehabilitation center also has a chapel area towards the front of the building that has stained glass windows from the previous building.

“We have all different churches that come in consistently,” Gascon said. “Sometimes we’ll get a bible study or something like that, or they’re just going to sing some hymns.”

Adams said GSS also provides an adult daycare service.

“Folks that are living at home with a loved one, but maybe that loved one needs to do some errands, or wants to go visit family and the other spouse may not be able to travel, we can provide the ability to do adult daycare services,” Adams said. “They can come in and can we provide baths or meals or activities. They can come one to five times a week, or even on the weekends we can make that work. We also have short-term respite care. Similar situation, maybe somebody wants to travel, visit family across the United States, but the spouse can’t travel. So they can stay a couple days, a couple weeks, whatever it may take.”

Adams said there are various types of payment methods for patients.

“We have all different types of circumstances,” Adams said. “If somebody meets the Medicare requirements, which means they have been in an acute setting in a hospital for three midnights, Medicare will consider that Medicare eligible. They can then come into our facility and receive up to 100 days of Medicare covered care, depending on the circumstances. We have Medicaid-contracted services if someone’s on Medicaid. We are (Veterans Affairs) certified. We’re the only one in this area that provides that. VA will cover their care here if they meet the requirements that they have.

“We are also able to take anybody that has either long-term care insurance or managed care types of situations. If they don’t have those things, they can pay privately. So there’s just a wide array of options that are available depending on the circumstances.”

Gascon said due to the short-term household being designed for people to come and go, they might get three or four availabilities within a day.

“We have a waiting list,” Gascon said. “A lot of people get on the waiting list before they’re ready, so sometimes we do have a long-term bed available, we’ll call them and they’re not ready yet. So we’ll call down to the next one.

“Sometimes the people that come into the post-acute, they feel better and so they want to stay. So they’ll come in on the short-term wing, but then after they’re therapy is over or their stay is over, they become long-term or wait for a long-term room to open up. That happens, too.”

Gascon said that every room is about the same, except there are recliners in the post-acute wing.

“A lot of people that have had surgery end up sleeping in their recliner. We used to have kind of a rocker or glider, so now we have this because it’s a bit more comfortable for them,” Gascon said. “They really have designed it in the best way for people that are going to be here.”

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