Heartland Care holds open house

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
One of the rooms of Heartland’s Memory Care Unit. Even the wall colors and flooring were chosen with the residents' needs in mind.

An open house was held on Sunday, September 23rd at Heartland Care Center. This was the culmination of 1 ½ years of construction on an 11,000 sq. ft. Memory Care (Alzheimer's ) Unit.

"This long-awaited day has been in on my mind since I came to Devils Lake in October of 2004, so it is really awesome that at the time of my eight year anniversary, we will finally be opening this unit!" says Karissa Olson, CEO of Heartland Care Center. "It hasn't been without challenges, but with the community's support, we have finally arrived and we couldn't be more excited to serve our first residents! We have a waiting list and we are determined to do it right so we are planning on moving residents in slowly, with just four the first week. This is unchartered territory for us and this is not a medical model. We have gone to great lengths to ensure we can provide the best care in a social model of care."

Kathy Frelich, Director of Social Services stated, "We work around our resident's schedule. We do what works best for them. When a resident is hungry, no matter the time, food will be available. It's their schedule, we won't try to make them fit ours. This is all about our residents. Further, it has been heart-breaking to see residents leave our community, so we are grateful to have this opportunity to meet their needs."

The unit will have a full-time activity staff member. It will be staffed with certified medication aides who will provide the cares as well as medication administration.

Of course, nurses will be available to meet resident's medical needs should they arise. Most residents with memory impairment don't have significant medical needs; it is the social model of care that benefits them. In the social model of care you see specially trained staff working around an individual resident's schedule, flexible meal times and opportunities for residents to participate in daily life, such as cooking and laundry. Other features are no staff uniforms, as residents don't see themselves as sick; no mirrors as they don't recognize the face in the mirror, no bathroom doors as they won't know to look behind the door for the bathroom. Things are simplified to make independence as great as possible without frustration.