Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, Oct. 21, 2002

HL Good Samaritan Center is finalist for prestigious award

By Lynda Jensen

The Howard Lake Good Samaritan Center is a finalist in the prestigious Care Providers of Minnesota James B. Swanson Award of Excellence competition.

"We were hoping to be in the top five," commented activity director Sue Breeschoten. The award applies to all the nursing home facilities in Minnesota, not just Good Samaritan Centers.

However, the care center was vaulted into one of two top spots by judges who physically inspected the facility and audited Good Samaritan on 16 different criteria.

Usually there are three top picks, Breeschoten said, but apparently the other candidates were far outdistanced by Howard Lake and another care center in Henning, which is located up north, she said.

The award criteria includes client satisfaction, community involvement, staff development, and leadership.

The care center offers a Resident Council, which is made of 15 residents who voice the interests of the residents in administrative affairs, she said.

Every year, the care center surveys both residents and their families about satisfaction, asking questions about everything from laundry services to safety to privacy.

Its combined scores of "excellent" and "very good" garnered answers in the upper 80 and 90 percents for 2001.

Volunteers are also active at the center, as evidenced by numerous fundraising projects.

The Good Samaritan Auxiliary is responsible for contributing a gazebo in the garden, stereo entertainment system, bird aviary, humidifiers, garden furniture, a showcase, and helped purchase a van, among other things.

Something else that helped the application was the center's association of successful people, such as Welton and Harriet Zander; who earned the Wright County Outstanding Senior Citizen and runner up, respectively. They both volunteer for the care center. Charlotte Gerber, who was a past resident, was also named as a runner up.

The care center just recently finished a redecorating project of its "living room," or front visiting area, which accounted for new draperies and wallpaper, carpeting, two new recliners, and two Queen Anne chairs, she said.

Their next venture is to achieve "elegant dining," which will improve the dining atmosphere and menus, Breeschoten said.

Other activities at the center include a new hand bell choir for residents, and hosting the queen's Tea for candidates of Miss Howard Lake, which was started this past year.

A tea is also being hosted for graduates that work at the care center, she said.

The care center has also earned a number of safety awards, being named twice by the state as deficiency free, she said. The center also earned three safety awards from the Good Samaritan Center organization.

The credit goes to many, who work tirelessly to make the care center comfortable, she said.

"The main thing is it's a team effort for providing the best care," she said. Many people participate in making the residents' lives better, she said.

The center is kept spotless by housekeeper Karla Graczyk, dietary manager Tana Forner and maintenance Director Steve Strandquist also deserve credit for their work, she said.

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