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Friendship Haven to expand skilled care

Service will be offered in all Simpson Health neighborhoods

-Messenger file photo
Friendship Haven will be offering skilled care in all neighborhoods of the Simpson Health Center beginning Nov. 1

Individuals needing short-term care for an illness or injury will soon be able to get the therapy they need in all neighborhoods of the Simpson Health Center on the Friendship Haven campus, 420 Kenyon Road.

Julie Thorson, president and CEO of the senior living community, announced Tuesday that skilled nursing care will be provided beginning Nov. 1.

Terrace View (formerly Catalyst neighborhood), along with Stone Heights, Arbor Lane, and Journeys will all have the capabilities and staff to provide such skilled care. Under the direction of Tori Johnson, Friendship Haven’s in-house therapy team, Trilogy Therapy, provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy to not only residents receiving skilled care, but to patients on an outpatient basis as well.

“Before we had a separate neighborhood called Catalyst on the first floor of the Simpson Health Center and that’s where we would bring people for short-term stays,” Thorson said. “Now when someone comes to receive skilled care, they can go to all (four) of our neighborhoods. We are taking the programming we were offering on one floor and offering it in every neighborhood.”

Thorson said Friendship Haven is looking to hire at least 15 team members, including nurses, certified nursing assistants and housekeepers to accommodate the needs for skilled nursing care. She said Friendship Haven as a whole has more than 70 job openings.

Those positions may not be easy to fill.

“The staffing crisis has not left us, unfortunately,” Thorson said.

She believes at least one reason that hiring has been difficult is the negative light that sometimes surrounds long-term care.

“I think there is a negativity around long-term care right now and people feel a lot of pressure,” Thorson said. “We have seen people leave during the pandemic because there is a lot of pressure.”

One of her goals is to share the positive stories that take place within the walls of Friendship Haven.

“People who work here really are not just coming to punch a time clock, they are coming to make a difference in someone’s life,” Thorson said. “We want to refocus on the great stories created because of the caregivers. I hope the more we encourage people to tell those stories, we will get out of this time because it is very fulfilling work.”

Thorson said providing skilled care on campus will be beneficial to a number of people. In recent times, skilled care has not been offered as the Simpson Health Center was closed.

“It has the potential to impact a lot of people,” Thorson said. “We have had to say no because we were on pause. Now with this reopening (Nov. 1), we are excited to serve people in the Fort Dodge and surrounding area.”

Thorson said anywhere from six to 15 people at any given time receive skilled care.

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