Brookings Health System News http://brookingshealth.org/news/ News from Brookings Health System. Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:58:34 -0500 Registration Now Open for DONA Birth Doula Workshop http://brookingshealth.org/news/registration-now-open-for-dona-birth-doula-workshop1/ To further develop the volunteer doula program for parents delivering their baby at New Beginnings Birth Center, Brookings Health System will again host the popular DONA Birth Doula workshop on April 29 and 30.

Class instruction will be held in hospital conference room A from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The workshop provides hands-on education for providing physical and emotional support to birthing women and their families. It is one step in meeting the requirements for becoming a volunteer doula at Brookings Health System.

The workshop costs $350, with the fee waived if applying to become a volunteer doula at Brookings Health System. It is recommended for doulas, nurses, nursing students, lactation counselors, childbirth educators and other health care professionals.

The workshop will be led by Marilyn Hildreth of JM Birth Consultants, a registered nurse and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

People interested in this workshop may register by e-mailing Marilyn Hildreth at marilyn@jmbirthconsultants.com. Questions may be directed to Brookings Health System’s OB Director Mary Schwaegerl at (605) 696-8811 or mschwaegerl@brookingshealth.org.

For more information on Brookings Health System’s volunteer doula program, please visit www.brookingshealth.org/doula.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org

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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:23:00 -0500 http://brookingshealth.org/news/registration-now-open-for-dona-birth-doula-workshop1/
The Neighborhoods at Brookview Earns Perfect 5-Star Rating from Nursing Home Compare http://brookingshealth.org/news/the-neighborhoods-at-brookview-earns-perfect-5-star-rating-from-nursing-home-compare/ The Neighborhoods at Brookview recently received a perfect 5-star rating from Nursing Home Compare across all four measurable dimensions. Pictured above, Social Worker Jill Kerr visits with Dorothy Schaller, a current resident on the Maple Ridge/Ash Boulevard neighborhood. The Neighborhoods’ household care model, which creates a homelike, social setting for residents to live, and 98% overall resident-family satisfaction rating has contributed to the recent success.New quality data recently issued on Nursing Home Compare, www.medicare.gov/ nursinghomecompare, ranks The Neighborhoods at Brookview with a perfect five-star rating across all four measureable dimensions. The four dimensions include health inspections, quality measures, staffing and overall rating.

“We are currently the only skilled nursing facility in South Dakota to have a perfect 5-star score in all four categories,” said Administrator Jason Hanssen. “By embracing the household care model, our team creates a homelike, social setting for our residents to live. Our care philosophy has enabled us to achieve a 98% overall resident-family satisfaction rating which has also contributed to our success.”

The Neighborhoods first earned the overall 5-star rating from Nursing Home Compare in 2013. Nursing Home Compare allows consumers to compare quality of care information on every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. It provides residents and their families the ability to make informed decisions on where to seek care. Star ratings are based on a one to five star scale, with more stars indicating better quality.

The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home offers short and long-term care to residents. The facility embraces the household model of care which aims to create a homelike, social setting for residents. Staff incorporates the five person-directed values in care: Choice, Dignity, Respect, Self-Determination and Purposeful Living. For more information, please visit www.brookingshealth.org/Neighborhoods.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org

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Tue, 14 Mar 2017 13:09:00 -0500 http://brookingshealth.org/news/the-neighborhoods-at-brookview-earns-perfect-5-star-rating-from-nursing-home-compare/
Safe Sitter Classes Scheduled for this Spring http://brookingshealth.org/news/safe-sitter-classes-scheduled-for-this-spring/ Registration is now open for Brookings Health System’s popular Safe Sitter Classes. Paramedic Wendy Long will teach two sessions this spring on Saturday, Mar. 25 and Saturday, May 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in hospital conference room A.

The Safe Sitter Class is recommended for young teens, 11 to 16 years of age, who are interested in babysitting and working with children, infants through school age. The course teaches how to safely care for younger children and includes First Aid and CPR.

Participants should pack a sack lunch that does not require refrigeration for their noon meal. Parents are encouraged to attend a completion ceremony at the end of the day. Participants will also receive an informational packet for at-home parent education.

Cost is $50 and includes a babysitting handbook for students to keep. Class size is limited to six participants. To register, please visit www.brookingshealth.org/SafeSitter or contact Wendy Long at wlong@brookingshealth.org.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, Arlington Medical Center, White Medical Clinic and Volga Medical Clinic. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 06 Mar 2017 13:13:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/safe-sitter-classes-scheduled-for-this-spring/
Spring Understanding Grief Classes Start March 6 http://brookingshealth.org/news/spring-understanding-grief-classes-start-march-6/ Brookings Health System’s free six-week educational series, Understanding Grief, will begin on Monday, March 6. The class series is led by Social Worker Denise Larson.

Classes will be held on Mondays at Brookings Health System in Conference Room D; attendees are encouraged to enter on the north side of the hospital by the cafeteria. There will be two class sessions and participants may attend either one. The first session will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and the second session will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The content will be the same for both the afternoon and evening sessions.

The classes are designed to help those who have lost a loved one learn about the process of grief and how to navigate it. Topics include the symptoms and process of grief, coping strategies, caring for one’s self, and the continuing bond that occurs. Discussions are confidential and carried out in an atmosphere of understanding and support.

The free class series is open to everyone. To register, please visit www.brookingshealth.org or call (605) 696-8089.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, Arlington Medical Center, White Medical Clinic and Volga Medical Clinic. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 27 Feb 2017 12:40:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/spring-understanding-grief-classes-start-march-6/
New Beginnings Baby Café Expanded to Thursday Afternoons http://brookingshealth.org/news/new-beginnings-baby-cafe-expanded-to-thursday-afternoons/ Mother LeAnn Hansen-Conn places her three-week old baby boy, Jackson, on a scale at New Beginnings Baby Café to weigh him with the assistance of IBCLC Lactation Consultants Aleycia Gerlach, left, and Charlotte Bachman, right. Brookings Health System recently expanded Baby Café hours to Thursday afternoons in order to better support mothers and help them successfully breastfeed their infants.Brookings Health System recently added a Thursday afternoon meeting time for New Beginnings Baby Café, the free, drop-in breastfeeding support session for nursing and expecting mothers.

In addition to meeting on Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., IBCLC Lactation Consultants and Registered Nurses Aleycia Gerlach and Charlotte Bachman will also be available on Thursdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Both sessions are now held in the new family lounge on the OB unit at Brookings Hospital.

“We received feedback from mothers that Tuesday evening didn’t always work well in their schedules,” said Obstetrics Director Mary Schwaegerl. “Moms asked us to add daytime hours. With our new OB unit, we now have the room to accommodate a daytime session so we can better support mothers to successfully breastfeed their babies.”

New Beginnings Baby Café supports breastfeeding mothers in every aspect of nursing, from starting to weaning and every variation in between. It also allows mothers to receive free one-on-one help from lactation consultants.

Mothers who attend Baby Café have the opportunity to weigh-feed-weigh their babies to measure how much their infants drink in one feeding. In addition, Gerlach and Bachmann record the babies’ weights to chart growth. Because the group is free to all pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, moms can also talk with other moms.

New Beginning Baby Café is currently the only Baby Café session in South Dakota registered with Baby Café USA. More information about New Beginnings Baby Café and Brookings Health System’s OB unit can be found at www.brookingshealth.org/OB.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:07:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/new-beginnings-baby-cafe-expanded-to-thursday-afternoons/
The First Babies at the New Hospital in 1964 http://brookingshealth.org/news/the-first-babies-at-the-new-hospital-in-1964/ In this photo from the Brookings Register, Lynne Omar poses with her daughter, Vickie, the first baby born at the new Brookings Hospital location in 1964.First babies at new hospitals are exciting for staff, giving them a chance to try out new birthing rooms and equipment to welcome their smallest patients into the world.

In 1964 when Brookings Hospital first opened at its current location on Twenty-Second Avenue, a wave of 100 babies were born in less than two-and-a-half months. But both the first and the third baby born at the hospital were very lucky to make it home.

Vickie, daughter of Omar and Lynne Olson, arrived at 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, and was the first baby born at the new hospital. Lynne experienced placenta previa, a condition in which the baby’s placenta grows over the mother’s cervix. She started bleeding severely and was rushed by ambulance to Brookings Hospital.

“They were still moving,” said Omar. “The ambulance driver had to call and ask if he should take Lynne to the old or the new hospital.”

Once at the new hospital, things progressed quickly.

“They called the doctor in and I was taken to the OR,” said Lynne. “I was the first surgical patient and had a C-section.”

Vickie weighed 4 lbs., 13 oz. and neither her nor her mother were quite out of the woods after her birth.

“Lynne is Catholic and they gave the last rights to both her and the baby,” said Omar. “I was scared to death.”

The next day another baby girl, Barb (Begalka) Mogler arrived at 1:20 a.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 7. About 12 weeks early and baptized immediately at the hospital, Barb wasn’t supposed to arrive until after Thanksgiving.

Barb’s family lived up by Estelline at the time, and both of her parents worked for farmers in the area. Her mother had chicken out and was ready to cook when she started going into labor on Saturday, Sept. 5, the day they moved patients from the old hospital to the new one.

“Mom and Dad said that they were still moving in the new hospital and had to go to the old hospital to get the incubator for me,” said Barb. “I am thankful to be alive because I only weighed 2 lbs., 11 oz.”

In fact, staff had to quickly move isolettes, incubators specifically for premature infants, for both girls to the new hospital. Today premature babies are often rushed to a NICU to give them their best chance at survival. But in 1964, both Vickie and Barb stayed at the Brookings Hospital nursery until they weighed 5 lbs.

“They were worried about Vickie,” said Lynne. “Her low birth weight and her breathing weren’t good.” Vickie ended up staying at the hospital for over a month before she reached a point to go home with Lynne.

Barb finally reached her 5 lbs. weight goal closer to her original due date in November, two months after Barb’s mother was discharged on Sept. 9. Her parents were by her side every day, hoping and praying to take her home. Soon after she was finally released from the hospital, Barb came down with the mumps, giving her parents an added challenge to caring for her.

Despite the challenges they faced, both girls had fight in them and survived. Today, Vickie lives in Minneapolis. Barb works for Brookings Health System at The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home. She is a homemaker, helping to prepare meals and cook for the residents, a job she loves and feels like she was born to do.

“Born here, baptized here[at the hospital]. My kids were born here; my grandkids were born here. I started working here and my family works here. I got engaged at the hospital because my second husband knew I loved this job so much,” said Barb. “I’ve always felt like I’ve had a purpose to be here.”

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:25:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/the-first-babies-at-the-new-hospital-in-1964/
First Baby Born at Brookings Hospital Expansion http://brookingshealth.org/news/first-baby-born-at-brookings-hospital-expansion/ Tyler and Melody Sieh of Revillo, S.D., had the first baby born at the new Brookings Hospital expansion. Scott David arrived 2:32 p.m. on Feb. 8, just one day after the new expansion opened.Scott David, son of Melody and Tyler Sieh of Revillo, S.D., is the first baby born at the new Brookings Hospital expansion. But that’s not the only thing that makes the 8 lb., 14 oz. baby boy who measures 21 inches long so special to his parents.

Melody and Tyler already have two girls, Vivian, 6, and Luann, 3, at home. In addition to being their first son, Scott is named in honor of Tyler’s brother who passed away. Naming a son after his brother meant so much to Tyler that he told Melody of his plans when they first met.

“It was a 13-year secret,” said Melody. “We wanted to surprise Tyler’s step-dad. Even the nurses were great at keeping the secret under wraps for us until the reveal.”

Scott arrived at 2:32 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2017, just one day after patients moved to the new hospital. Melody was excited about the new expansion, hoping she’d get to deliver there with Dr. Richard Gudvangen, her OB-GYN who delivered her first two babies. In fact, when the couple moved to Miller, S.D., after college and became pregnant with their second daughter, Melody couldn’t find a physician she liked as well as Dr. Gudvangen.

“We drove all the way from Miller then just to deliver here,” said Tyler.

As such, when they moved closer to family in Revillo and became pregnant with Scott, the couple decided to have him at Brookings Health System, too. As for the differences between the two hospitals, both Tyler and Melody like how much more room they have.

“It’s spacious and good for entertaining guests,” said Melody.

Tyler adds, “It’s nice to stay in one spot and not have to move rooms.”

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Thu, 09 Feb 2017 15:43:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/first-baby-born-at-brookings-hospital-expansion/
First Patients Treated at Brookings Hospital Expansion Today http://brookingshealth.org/news/first-patients-treated-at-brookings-hospital-expansion-today/ Renovation Starts Next Week in Original Hospital

The new Brookings Hospital expansion opened its doors today for surgical, inpatient care, radiology, obstetrics and pharmacy services. The entire expansion features private patient transport corridors separated from public hallways and also gives patients easy, direct access to outpatient care services like imaging procedures and same-day surgery. Renovation will start next week in the original 1964 building.After 16 months of construction, health care providers treated the first patients at the new Brookings Hospital expansion today. All services, including radiology, surgery, pharmacy, obstetrics and inpatient care, are moved into the building and are operational.

“With our new east expansion in service, we are able to provide a higher level of patient privacy, comfort and total experience,” said CEO Jason Merkley. “We’re able to give patients easy, direct access to outpatient care services like imaging procedures and same-day surgery. We’ve also increased our capacity, added amenities and accommodations for families and visitors, and increased efficiency in our staffing model in order to spend more time on patient care.”

The entire expansion features private patient transport corridors separated from public hallways. Surgery includes 12 private same-day surgery rooms located near the three OR suites and two procedure rooms. It also has a private family consultation room. Radiology now has close proximity to the ER with a private patient transfer hallway connecting the two departments. It also has a new, indoor MRI with a wide bore opening to accommodate all body types. Obstetrics increased from three to five labor, deliver, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) suites and includes a private patient elevator with direct access to the OR for emergency Caesarean deliveries. Inpatient Care features 24 private patient rooms, each with its own private bathroom and shower. The unit also has ample space for families and visitors to gather.

Construction of the 62,500 square-foot hospital completes the second leg of Brookings Health System’s entire hospital expansion and renovation project. Remodeling will start next week inside the original 1964 hospital building.

“The existing hospital space is being remodeled to accommodate services displaced by our construction project, such as outreach, cardiac rehab, and respiratory care. We’ll also bring back on campus ancillary staff who are currently located off campus,” said Merkley. “In addition, we’ll be renovating the front entry off Twenty-Second Avenue to give patients and visitors easy access to both the Medical Plaza and Brookings Hospital.”

In order to remodel, cardiac rehab will be relocated temporarily to north circle in the old hospital. Cardiac rehab patients are asked to enter through the therapy entrance on the north side of campus. The outreach specialty clinic is being relocated to the old obstetrics unit; outreach patients are asked to enter through the new southeast hospital entrance.

“We thank our patients, visitors and community for their patience thus far during our project,” said Merkley. “Renovation will create some challenges in navigating to certain services. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience and are grateful that our community continues to be excited about, and supportive of, our progress.”

Remodeling is slated for completion late this summer. More information about the hospital expansion and renovation project can be found online at www.brookingshealth.org/renovation.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:54:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/first-patients-treated-at-brookings-hospital-expansion-today/
Hospitalist Program to Start at New Brookings Hospital http://brookingshealth.org/news/hospitalist-program-to-start-at-new-brookings-hospital/ Brookings Health System will implement a new hospitalist program at Brookings Hospital starting Feb. 13, nearly one week after the new hospital opens. A hospitalist physician specializes in caring for patients in the hospital setting. Advantages of a hospitalist program include more physician time at the patient bedside and quicker physician response to patient emergencies.Starting Feb. 13, Brookings Health System will implement a new hospitalist program to provide focused care for inpatients staying at Brookings Hospital. The program will launch almost one week after the new hospital opens on Feb. 7.

A hospitalist is a doctor who is trained in hospital medicine and specializes in caring for inpatients in the hospital setting. A hospitalist works closely with other members of the hospital care team to provide comprehensive care during a patient’s stay.

“Because a hospitalist works only in the hospital, he or she will be readily available to oversee the medical care of inpatients and facilitate the patient treatment plan,” said Chief Nursing Office Tammy Hillestad. “A hospitalist can also quickly respond to changes in the patient condition and works side-by-side with nursing and other professionals in the Inpatient Care unit.“

Hillestad adds that a hospitalist will not replace the patients’ primary care provider. Instead, the hospitalist will partner with the patients’ primary care physician and keep them updated on the patients’ condition and care. The on-staff hospitalist will inform the primary care physician of patient admission and provide a detailed discharge summary to help with treatment plans after patient leaves the hospital.

At Brookings Hospital, hospitalists will oversee the care of adult patients, 15 years and older, who are admitted to the Inpatient Care unit. All pediatric, OB, and surgical patients will still be seen and cared for by their respective specialty physician.

More information about the hospitalist program can be found online at www.brookingshealth.org/Hospitalist.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes the 49-bed Brookings Hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Tue, 31 Jan 2017 08:35:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/hospitalist-program-to-start-at-new-brookings-hospital/
Dean Nancy Fahrenwald Appointed to Brookings Health System Board of Trustees http://brookingshealth.org/news/dean-nancy-fahrenwald-appointed-to-brookings-health-system-board-of-trustees/ Baker Leaves Board after Nine Years of Service 

Dean Nancy FahrenwaldDr. Nancy Fahrenwald, dean of the College of Nursing at SDSU, was recently appointed to Brookings Health System’s Board of Trustees.

Fahrenwald is a licensed health professional in the state of South Dakota who has practiced clinically and served as an educator, scientist and leader in nursing for more than three decades. She started at SDSU in 1995 as an instructor in the College of Nursing. She was named associate dean for nursing research in 2009 and was named dean of the College of Nursing in 2013.

"Quality, accessible, affordable health care is an essential resource in our community,” said Fahrenwald. “As a board member, I will work collaboratively with the health system administration and staff, board leaders, and community members to lead health initiatives that focus on keeping people healthy, making care available when needed, assuring that care is affordable and accessible, and meeting the diverse needs of the community we serve.”

Al BakerFahrenwald fills the city-appointed position formerly held by Al Baker, CFO at First Bank & Trust. Baker was appointed to the board of trustees in January 2008. He served as vice president in 2010 and 2011 and then served as president from January 2012 to January 2015.

Some of the major accomplishments at Brookings Health System that occurred during Baker’s nine years include doubling net revenue, significant increases in yearly operating income, and implementing the health system’s master campus plan which included remodeling the emergency department and laboratory; building The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home; and starting the expansion and renovation project at Brookings Hospital.

“We thank Al for his leadership and years of service to the board,” said CEO and President Jason Merkley. “His commitment to Brookings Health System and our community has improved health care in Brookings and the surrounding area.”

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes the 49-bed Brookings Hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 23 Jan 2017 08:44:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/dean-nancy-fahrenwald-appointed-to-brookings-health-system-board-of-trustees/
New Board Member Elected to Brookings Health System Foundation http://brookingshealth.org/news/new-board-member-elected-to-brookings-health-system-foundation/ Outgoing Brookings Health System Foundation board member Ardelle Roberts is replaced by Tom Fishback at the January 12 board meeting.Brookings Health System Foundation’s board of directors selected Tom Fishback as its newest member at the Jan. 12 meeting. Fishback fills the seat vacated by Ardelle Roberts who served the organization as a board member for the maximum four terms.

In addition, David Kneip was re-elected to his fourth and final term as a board member through December 2018. Existing board officers Kneip, Joanie Holm and Jim Winterboer were re-elected to one year terms through 2017 as Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary, respectively.

“We welcome Tom to the board,“ said Kneip. “And, we are very grateful to Ardelle for dedicating nearly two decades to Brookings Health System.” Roberts served on the hospital board before stepping in as one of the original Foundation board members in 2009.

Brookings Health System Foundation was formed to support Brookings Health System through philanthropic programs including financial assistance for those in need, support for on-going staff education, and upgrades to facilities, equipment and technology. For more information, please visit www.brookingshealth.org/Foundation.

About Brookings Health System Foundation

The mission of Brookings Health System Foundation is “Inspiring people to support Brookings Health System through philanthropy, recognizing the vital role of local healthcare in sustaining quality of life in our community.” Gifts to the Foundation support charity health care for those less fortunate, health and wellness education, facility, equipment, and technology upgrades and other needs as they arise at Brookings Health System. For more information about Brookings Health System Foundation or how you may contribute, please contact Foundation Director Barb Anderson at (605) 696-8855 or foundation@brookingshealth.org.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:35:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/new-board-member-elected-to-brookings-health-system-foundation/
Brookings Hospital Open House Set for Jan. 28 http://brookingshealth.org/news/brookings-hospital-open-house-set-for-jan.-28/ Patient Care Commences in New Building on Feb. 7

Brookings Health System will hold a public open house showcasing the new Brookings Hospital expansion on Saturday, Jan. 28. Tours will give visitors a quick glance of the new facilities, including the new family waiting area for inpatient care, pictured above. Team members will move equipment and supplies following the open house. Patient care will commence in the new facilities on Feb. 7.Brookings Health System invites all community members to a public open house showcasing the new Brookings Hospital expansion on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. Guests are asked to use the new southeast entrance and parking lot.

Attendees will be offered group tours of the newly constructed 62,500 square feet of hospital space, including radiology, surgery, pharmacy, obstetrics and inpatient care.

“Our team is excited to show our community the new medical areas before we start using them for patient care,” said CEO Jason Merkley. “Our new building was constructed for patient privacy, healing and comfort. Those coming for outpatient procedures, such as imaging or same-day surgery, will have easy access to care. Patients who come to stay in the hospital will have plenty of room to accommodate family and visitors.”

Team members will move equipment and supplies the following week and weekend. Care will officially transition to the new facility on Tuesday, Feb. 7 with existing hospital patients being transferred to the new inpatient care and obstetrics areas. Renovation of the vacated areas will begin immediately following the move. Remodeled space will house services displaced during construction and ancillary staff currently located off campus.

The hospital expansion and renovation project will be completely finished Summer 2017. More information about the project can be found online at www.brookingshealth.org/renovation.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Wed, 11 Jan 2017 09:43:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/brookings-hospital-open-house-set-for-jan.-28/
2016 an Award-Winning Year for Brookings Health System http://brookingshealth.org/news/2016-an-award-winning-year-for-brookings-health-system/ The ESGR Above and Beyond Award was one of several honors presented to Brookings Health System this past year. Pictured from left to right are CFO Steve Lindemann, CEO Jason Merley, Physician Assistant Dave Fossum, and CNO Tammy Hillestad. The health system also earned several accolades in 2016 for providing high-quality care across its line of health care services.2016 proved to be an award-winning year for Brookings Health System. The health system earned several accolades for providing high-quality care across its line of health care services.

Path to Excellence Award: Brookings Health System earned the Path to Excellence Award for Improving the Patient Experience from National Research Corporation (NRC). NRC selected Path to Excellence award recipients based on how successfully the recipients deliver quality care according to what patients identified as most important to them. The award is only bestowed upon those organizations that are ranked by patients as being a top performer.

Family/Resident Survey: The Neighborhoods at Brookview received consistently strong ratings from its biannual family/resident survey. Overall satisfaction for the facility ranked at 96%. In addition, 97% of those interviewed indicated they would recommend The Neighborhoods to others.

Blue Distinction Center+: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced Brookings Health System as one of the first hospitals in South Dakota to receive the Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designations under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must also meet requirements for cost efficiency.

Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award: The American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) honored The Neighborhoods at Brookview for the third consecutive year with the ACHCA 2016 Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award. The award honors facility excellence reflected by leadership excellence as exemplified at The Neighborhoods at Brookview.

ESGR Above & Beyond Award: The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), part of the Department of Defense, awarded Brookings Health System with the Above and Beyond Award. The award recognizes employers at the local level who have surpassed the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by providing their guard and reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits.

Women’s Choice Awards: For the third consecutive year WomenCertified, Inc., home of the Women’s Choice Award, has named Brookings Health System among America’s best hospitals. This year Brookings Health System was recognized in two categories, America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Patient Experience and America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care.

mPINC Survey: Brookings Health System scored 97 of 100 points on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC). Brookings Health System scored 23 points above the South Dakota average (74) and 18 points above the national average (79). The score places Brookings Health in the top 3% of the 2,582 facilities surveyed nationwide.

Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals: Brookings Health System was named one of iVantage Health Analytics’, “Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals”. Brookings Health System scored in the top 100 of rural and community hospitals on iVantage’s Hospital Strength INDEX®, placing the health system in the top four percent of all rural hospitals in the United States.

100 Great Community Hospitals: Brookings Health System was named to the “100 Great Community Hospitals” list by Becker’s Hospital Review. The Becker's Hospital Review editorial team recently selected hospitals from across the country for inclusion on its "100 Great Community Hospitals" list based on rankings and awards from other organizations, including iVantage Health Analytics. Brookings Health System was the only South Dakota organization to receive the honor in 2016.

More information about the high quality of care available locally at Brookings Health System can be found online at www.brookingshealth.org/Quality.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Thu, 05 Jan 2017 08:27:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/2016-an-award-winning-year-for-brookings-health-system/
New Year’s Baby Arrives at Brookings Health System http://brookingshealth.org/news/new-year-s-baby-arrives-at-brookings-health-system2/

Mayla Irene Petersen was born on New Year’s Day at Brookings Health System. Pictured with Mayla are her parents, Jason and Stephanie, and big brother Grayden. As the first baby of the New Year, Mayla and her family received a variety of gifts from local businesses and organizations.Mayla Irene Petersen arrived at 8:11 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2017, making her the first baby of the New Year born at Brookings Health System.

Mayla is the daughter of Stephanie and Jason Petersen of Brookings and joins older brother, Grayden, at home. She weighed six pounds and 10 ounces and measured 20 inches long. Mother and baby are both doing well.

The New Year’s Baby and her parents received a variety of toys, baby products, and, gift certificates of cash and services from local businesses and organizations. Contributors to the New Year’s Baby gift basket include:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Brookings
  • South Dakota State University Alumni Association
  • First Bank & Trust
  • Daktronics
  • Party Depot
  • Bel Brands
  • McCrory Gardens
  • Taco John’s
  • Mills Construction
  • Brookings Healthcare Auxiliary
  • Optical Shop
  • Avera Medical Group
  • Metabank
  • Wink’s Fine Jewelry

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 02 Jan 2017 13:51:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/new-year-s-baby-arrives-at-brookings-health-system2/
Six Nurses Earn Operating Room Certification http://brookingshealth.org/news/six-nurses-earn-operating-room-certification/ Six registered nurses at Brookings Health System recently earned the credentials of Certified Nursing Operating Room (CNOR), validating the high standards required for caring patients before, during and after surgery. Pictured are (back row) McKenzie Nielsen, Terry Stauffacher, Candace Johnson; (front row) Jodi Greenfield, Sue Mahlum. Not pictured: Mandy Newman.Six registered nurses at Brookings Health System recently earned the credentials of Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR). CNOR certification validates the professional achievement and high standards of practice by an individual registered nurse who provides care for patients before, during and after surgery.

Nurses who earned the CNO credentials include Operating Room and Central Service Director Candace Johnson and Operating Room Nurses Jodi Greenfield, Terri Stauffacher, Mandy Newman, Sue Mahlum and McKenzie Nielsen.

“As the only credentialing program for perioperative registered nurses, CNOR is considered the gold standard for demonstrating the skill and knowledge required of for surgical nurses,” said Johnson. “Having our OR nurses achieve and work towards CNOR credentials exhibits Brookings Health System’s commitment to providing safe and high-quality surgical care to patients.”

To be eligible for CNOR certification, a perioperative nurse must have two years and 2,400 hours of operating room experience. At least half of the hours must be in the intraoperative setting. Certification requires a nurse pass an exam covering nine surgical subject areas, including preoperative patient assessment and diagnosis, preoperative plan of care, intraoperative care, instrument processing and supply management, emergency situations, and professional accountability.

Brookings Health System’s surgical services offers a full range of inpatient, outpatient (same-day surgery), and emergency surgical treatments provided by skilled surgeons and professional support staff. To learn more about Brookings Health System’s surgical services, please visit www.brookingshealth.org/surgery.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 19 Dec 2016 08:34:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/six-nurses-earn-operating-room-certification/
Dekkenga Honored with SDEMSA President’s Award http://brookingshealth.org/news/dekkenga-honored-with-sdemsa-president-s-award/ Ambulance Director Gordon Dekkenga (right) recently received the President’s Award from SDEMSA for his contributions to Emergency Medical Services in South Dakota. He is pictured with SDEMSA President Eric Van Dusen.Gordon Dekkenga, ambulance director at Brookings Health System, was recently presented the President’s Award by the South Dakota Emergency Medical Services Association (SDEMSA).

The President’s Award is given annually to a SDEMSA member who, in the opinion of the SDEMSA President, has been instrumental in furthering the goals and objectives of EMS in South Dakota and who is an active member of SDEMSA

“Gordon has been a great influence for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) changes at every level within our state,” said SDEMSA President Eric Van Dusen. “Gordon’s goal is to make EMS better in our state, which requires changes for every service.

“Gordon was also picked for this award for his contributions to the community outside of EMS, supporting single mothers in need of help. He and his wife, Shirley, sold their home to move into a home big enough to give single mothers a place to stay until they get back on their feet.”

Dekkenga began as an EMS volunteer in 1977. He went back to school and became a paramedic in 1984. During his career he has worked as an ambulance paramedic, flight medic and administrator.

Dekkenga has led Brookings Health System’s ambulance team for the past 8 years. As ambulance director, he oversees the day-to-day operations for both basic and advanced life support ambulance transport in emergency and non-emergency situations. More information about Brookings Health System’s ambulance service can be found online at www.brookingshealth.org/Ambulance.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 28 Nov 2016 08:51:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/dekkenga-honored-with-sdemsa-president-s-award/
Brookings Health System Scores 97/100 on CDC’s Infant Feeding Practices Survey http://brookingshealth.org/news/brookings-health-system-scores-97-100-on-cdc-s-infant-feeding-practices-survey/ Obstetrics Nurse Lacy Maher, RN, listens to the heartbeat of newborn, Elsie, one of the twin daughters born to Stacy and Tyler Knutson of Toronto, S.D. Both Elsie and her twin sister, Evelyn, roomed-in with their mother during their stay at Brookings Health System. Rooming-in is one of the seven care dimensions measured by the CDC’s mPINC survey of infant nutrition practices. Baby-Friendly practices like rooming-in led to Brookings Health System’s recent high score on the mPINC survey.Brookings Health System scored 97 of 100 points on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC). The score places Brookings Health in the top 3% of the 2,582 facilities surveyed nationwide.

The mPINC survey is a national survey of infant feeding practices in maternity care settings. Every two years, all U.S. hospitals that provide maternity services and free-standing birth centers are invited to participate. Brookings Health System scored 23 points above the South Dakota average (74) and 18 points above the national average (79).

“Evidence-based research shows breastfeeding is the best feeding practice for mothers and babies alike,” said Obstetrics Director Mary Schwaegerl. “By becoming a Baby-Friendly designated hospital, we’ve implemented many supportive hospital care practices recommended by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the CDC that encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies. Our goal is to continue our Baby-Friendly status. As such, we anticipate performing well on future mPINC surveys.”

To maintain Baby-Friendly status, Brookings Health System must annually pass the Baby-Friendly Health Initiative’s quality audits, which the health system successfully passed in 2016. The Baby-Friendly audit assesses the facility on several factors, including the seven care dimensions rated by mPINC that demonstrate supportive hospital practices to encourage breastfeeding. Those care dimensions include:

  • Skin-to-skin contact: placing the newborn skin-to-skin with the mother immediately after birth, allowing uninterrupted time for breastfeeding.
  • Teaching about breastfeeding: teaching mothers and babies how to breastfeed and to recognize and respond to important feeding cues.
  • Early and frequent breastfeeding: helping mothers and babies start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, with many opportunities to practice throughout the hospital stay. Pacifiers are used only when medically indicated.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding: offering supplementary feedings only in cases of rare medical complications.
  • Rooming-in: encouraging mothers and babies to room together and teach families the benefits of close contact, including better quality and quantity of sleep for both and more opportunities to practice breastfeeding.
  • Active follow-up after discharge: scheduling in-person breastfeeding follow-up visits for mothers and babies after they go home to check-up on breastfeeding, help resolve any feeding problems, and connect families to community breastfeeding resources.

According to the CDC, institutional changes in maternity care practices effectively increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. Birth facilities that have achieved designation as a part of the World Health Organization/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), such as Brookings Health System, typically experience an increase in breastfeeding rates.

Brookings Health System’s OB unit, New Beginnings Birth Center, has eight beds consisting of three labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) rooms and five postpartum recovery rooms. The unit provides full OB services to expectant parents and enables area residents to deliver their baby close to home with a local physician. To learn more about New Beginnings Birth Center, please visit www.brookingshealth.org/OB.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 21 Nov 2016 08:31:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/brookings-health-system-scores-97-100-on-cdc-s-infant-feeding-practices-survey/
Brookings Health System Hires Derek Degen as Business Office & Registration Director http://brookingshealth.org/news/brookings-health-system-hires-derek-degen-as-business-office-and-registration-director/ Business Office and Registration Director Derek DegenBrookings Health System recently hired Derek Degen as the new business office and registration director.

In this role Degen manages the overall operations of business office functions for all health system business units to ensure timely, legally compliant and accurate billing. He and his team also provide estimates for planned and routine hospital services to help patients budget for paying out-of-pocket expenses. 

Degen is also responsible for collections of account receivables and maximizing related cash flow. He oversees reception, appointment scheduling and patient registration staff as well as claims specialists and financial counselors.

Degen brings five years of health care experience to his position, most recently serving as the clinic manager at Avera Medical Group in Sibley, Iowa. He received his master’s of public administration, healthcare administration from the University of South Dakota and his bachelor’s in political science from South Dakota State University.

To request an estimate from the business office based on your insurance plan for an upcoming hospital procedure, please call (605) 696-8888. For more information on billing or to pay your bill online, please visit www.brookingshealth.org/PayBill.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 14 Nov 2016 08:55:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/brookings-health-system-hires-derek-degen-as-business-office-and-registration-director/
Veterans Welcoming Home Veterans http://brookingshealth.org/news/veterans-welcoming-home-veterans/ Unique Hospice Program Helps Veterans at End-of-Life

Henry Buchholtz of Aurora served in the Navy as a cook aboard the U.S.S. New Orleans during World War II. Before he passed away this past July, he was able to see pictures of and revisit memories about his ship thanks to Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Roger Brown and the We Honor Veterans program offered by Brookings Health System Hospice.Henry Buchholtz of Aurora loved to cook. His baked beans became a staple at the annual Brookings County Veterans Memorial pork feed and Aurora Fire Department events. During community pancake feeds, he’d settle in the kitchen with his griddle, turning flapjacks to feed the masses.

“When he made pancakes for the Legion, he was the only man with all the Auxiliary women who was cooking,” said Henry’s oldest daughter, Sandy Nilges of Aurora.

“The women were measuring ingredients, and he’d say, ‘Just dump it in, and you can tell if you’ve got enough,’” added his younger daughter, Linda Smidt, also of Aurora.

In fact, Henry mixed pancakes at the Pike/Huska American Legion Post #230 the same way he did during his three years in the Navy. His parents signed for him to enlist in 1943 when he was only 17 years old. He served as a cook in the South Pacific during World War II aboard the U.S.S. New Orleans, what he would refer to as his ship.

After the war, he married his wife, Alice, and settled in Aurora, working as a butcher at Artz Locker in Brookings for 40 years. In addition to their daughters, the couple also had twin sons, Dennis and David. Henry served on both the Aurora School Board and the Aurora Town Board, making such an impact on the community that Aurora named a park after him. But the service Henry was proudest of was his time in the military, always remembering his ship. And when Henry entered hospice care with Brookings Health System last winter, he finally got to see pictures of the New Orleans again thanks to the We Honor Veterans program.

Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Roger Brown procured photos of the U.S.S. New Orleans, like the one above, for hospice patient Henry Buchholtz. The two veterans were paired together by the We Honor Veterans program offered by Brookings Health System Hospice and often shared and revisited Henry’s memories of World War II and time aboard the New Orleans.We Honor Veterans is a campaign from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that teaches hospice providers respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgement to comfort patients with a history of military service and possible physical or psychological trauma. By participating in the program, Brookings Health System’s hospice professionals and volunteers learn how to honor, respect and welcome home veterans.

As a part of the We Honor Veterans program, Brookings Health System offers a Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer program which pairs recruited veteran volunteers with veteran hospice patients. Veteran volunteers have the unique ability to relate and connect with hospice patients who have military experience and create an environment where life review and healing may occur.

Henry was matched with Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Roger Brown of Aurora, who served in the Army for 27 years. As a hospice volunteer for the past year, Roger visits with local hospice patients to connect with them and help them process emotions and memories as they reach end-of-life. As a veteran himself, Roger understands the distinct culture among those who have served in the military.

When Roger visited Henry in his home, he listened to Henry’s stories about his ship.

“He told me about Typhoon Cobra,” said Roger. “He said, ‘In my entire life that’s probably the most scared I’ve ever been.’ They lost three destroyers in that storm. He also told me about the time the front of the New Orleans was blown off.”

Roger researched the U.S.S. New Orleans online and came back to Henry with a CD filled with images of his ship, pictures Henry had never seen before.

“Dad was all excited,” said Linda, “and then I think because Roger was in the service, they could talk about stuff like that. He really liked that.”

In addition, Roger researched information on Typhoon Cobra and the bombing of the New Orleans and brought it for Henry to read. He tried to visit Henry once a week. One week he also convinced fellow hospice volunteer Nancy Gries to come along with him and bring her keyboard. She played for Henry, including the song, “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” which purportedly was inspired by the U.S.S New Orleans chaplain during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

“I thought it was really nice that Roger would take his time and come and visit him. Dad looked forward to the visits, too,” said Sandy. “He knew Roger was going to come on that day.”

When Henry became weak and started falling frequently, he told his hospice nurse he wanted to move to a nursing home. Brookings Health System helped Henry and his family arrange for care at Estelline Nursing and Care Center. His hospice services from Brookings Health moved with him, providing Henry comfort during his last days. Roger made it a point to continue visiting Henry, traveling to Estelline to listen to his stories, increasing his number of visits as time became short. When Henry passed away this past July, Roger went to his funeral. There, Henry’s family thanked Roger for the camaraderie he provided their father.

“The families always tell me the clients really look forward to my visit,” said Roger. “I get more out of it than the client does. The stories are just fantastic. There’s a closeness; we get to be friends. I don’t look it as just a chore going out. I look forward to going out to see people.”

Veteran volunteers like Roger form a strong relational bond with veteran hospice patients like Henry, but more volunteers are needed to help serve the unique needs of veterans and non-veterans alike as they enter hospice care.

“So many of our veterans were just kids when they were asked to serve our military,” said Mavis Gehant, retiring hospice social worker at Brookings Health System. “We know now that the human brain isn’t mature until age 25. And these were 18-, 19-year-old farm kids from South Dakota who suddenly saw so many things drastically different from the place they grew up in. For many of them, they still haven’t fully processed those experiences and may still at this point in their life need to find resolution for their memories. That’s where our Veteran-to-Veteran volunteers can help play such a critical role.”

Volunteers receive initial training from hospice staff and also meet monthly with other volunteers for additional training. Volunteers are encouraged to find their niche, whether it’s playing music, running errands, or visiting and listening to life experiences. Part of the training includes the grieving process when a volunteer loses a patient they’ve become close to.

“I have to deal with it every time,” says Roger of his hospice clients. “You just have to be brave enough and know you’re going to have to deal with it, but it’s worth making a difference for them.”

Individuals with who are interested in becoming hospice volunteers may contact Brookings Health System Hospice at (605) 696-7700 or fill out an application located at www.brookingshealth.org/Volunteer. More information about Brookings Health System Hospice can be found online at www.brookingshealth.org/Hospice.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Mon, 07 Nov 2016 09:16:00 -0600 http://brookingshealth.org/news/veterans-welcoming-home-veterans/
Gibson Certified to Perform DOT/CDL Medical Exams http://brookingshealth.org/news/gibson-certified-to-perform-dot-cdl-medical-exams/ DNP Jo GibsonNurse Practitioner Jo Gibson, medical provider at White Medical Clinic, recently became certified by the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners to perform DOT/CDL medical exams.

To be certified by the National Registry, Gibson completed training according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) core curriculum requirements and passed the FMCSA’s medical examiner certification test.

All medical cards issued to Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers must be provided by examiners listed on the National Registry. As a certified examiner, Gibson will submit medical certificate information to the FMCSA on everyone who applies for a medical card with her.

For more information or to schedule your DOT/CDL medical exam, please call White Medical Clinic at (605) 629-3333.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.

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Thu, 03 Nov 2016 08:17:00 -0500 http://brookingshealth.org/news/gibson-certified-to-perform-dot-cdl-medical-exams/