News & Events

3/30/2020 Employee Update COVID-19

Thank you for your work during these incredibly challenging times. Please know you are very important to us and especially the residents you care for. 

The information and resources below is offered to assist you in managing through these times. Our residents and your co-workers depend on you to continue to remain healthy. We know that you are well trained on Infection Control, but if you have any questions please see the care center’s Infection Preventionist nurse or the Administrator.  A copy of the policies and procedures specifically related to COVID-19 can be accessed by through this link.

Many people around the country are having challenges managing the many stressors associated with COVID-19c. Please know the following resources available to you:

  • St. Francis Health Services’ Employee Assistance Program: Offers no-cost confidential assistance. This services provides you with direct, 24/7 access to a Guidance Consultant, who will answer your questions and, if needed, refer you to a counselor or other resources. 

            Phone: 800.460.4374 TDD: 800.697.0353

            Online: guidanceresources.com

                        Web ID: EAPEssential

            App: GuidanceResources® Now

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has set up a free toll-free line to assist with managing stress during the COVID-19. SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

Website: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline

Phone: 1-800-985-5990

Text: TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

  • If you are having difficulty finding child care: Minnesota has set up a child care

information hotline open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Metro number: 651-297-1304

Greater Minnesota: 1-800-657-350

What you should know about COVID-19 taken from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and what is known about other coronaviruses, spread is thought to occur mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts. Close contact can occur while caring for a resident, including:

  • being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a resident with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time.
  • having direct contact with infectious secretions from a resident with COVID-19. Infectious secretions may include sputum, serum, blood, and respiratory droplets.

Please practice social distancing, as able, in your interactions both at work and at home.

Our care centers are following the recommendations of the CDC on using basic contact precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Current information from the CDC and local and state health department is being shared when it occurs. We are committed to following these recommended CDC guidelines.

As employees, we will:

  • Complete the screening information upon reporting for work. If becoming ill any time during the shift report to the charge nurse.  Screening of temperatures may increase to checking prior to leaving work, dependent on community illness.
  • Use proper hand washing hygiene including washing hands for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol upon entering the building and before and after interaction with residents. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty, before and after meals, and using the restroom.
  • Cover our mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze in your sleeve/elbow.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning. Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. No special cleaning is necessary for COVID-19.
  • Assess and monitor residents with acute respiratory symptoms for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure, including placing a facemask on the resident and placing them in a room with the door closed.
  • Use the determined standard precautions when caring for residents with confirmed or possible COVID-19.
  • Practice proper use of personal protective equipment (ppe) to prevent self-contamination.
  • When we return home after work, remove and wash clothing immediately and continue to practice social distancing as much as possible. This assists in managing virus exposure outside of our care centers.

 Your health and well-being is important to us, please let any of us know if there is anything more we can do to support you in this time of uncertainty.  Thank you for being a part of St. Francis Health Services and your care center.

3/30/2020 COVID-19 Update

St. Francis Health Services of Morris is dedicated to assisting each of our care centers providing direction and support as we work through the steps required to provide care in the event we have a COVID-19 outbreak in one of our care centers.  Given this virus especially can affect those we serve within our care centers, we ask that you continue to cooperate with us restricting your visits and focus on other methods of reaching out to your loved ones.  As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to grow in Minnesota and our communities, we believe it is inevitable that at some point we will be managing cases within our care centers.

Please know that our corporate office and care centers have been proactively working on an outbreak plan and have instituted several steps and processes to address this if/when it comes to fruition. 

We continue to focus on and actively follow infection control protocols and other guidance provided by reliable sources (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and our local and state health agencies) holding the goal of reducing the risk of occurrence and transmission within our communities as our highest priority.  Those measures are:

  • Complying with the Governors orders to “shelter in place” with the exception of all essential workers.
  • Restricting visitors; with the exception of allowing a very limited category of essential visitors determined on a case by case basis and screened prior to entry.
  • Completing resident screening for any changes that may identify any illness.
  • Monitoring all employees at entry and for signs and symptoms of the virus that may develop at work.
  • Eliminating group activities except where social distancing can occur and be maintained.
  • Identifying and setting up segregated areas of our care centers that will be used if any resident develops COVID-19 symptoms, to minimize the risk to others.
  • Determining staffing changes needed in the event of an outbreak to meet the needs of those in our care.
  • Providing ongoing communication with those we serve and our employees.

Please know that we continue to find ways to share joy and fun with those who live within our care centers. If you have not had an opportunity, please take time to visit the specific care center’s Facebook page. We are providing many pictures that will allow you to see all we are doing to provide the best service we can for those you love.  Especially in these challenging times, our focus is to provide opportunities for each person to stay connected with their loved ones and their community.

Many community members have been motivated to give of their time, money, and other resources for our care center communities. We appreciate this so much and want you to know this makes a difference to residents, families, and staff. THANK YOU!

Please continue to stay connected and let us know if you have any questions or concerns by reaching out to the administrator, social worker or activity personnel. 

We are stronger together!

Resource Links:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services : https://www.cms.gov/

Minnesota Health Department: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

04/09/2020 Governor’s Stay at Home Order Extended

MN’s Governor, Tim Walz, instituted a stay at home order beginning Saturday, March 28th, 2020 which has now been extended to May 4th.  St. Francis encourages all visitors to honor the stay at home order.  We also recognize how difficult it is not to see your loved one and how difficult it is for our residents to not see their loved ones. 

Prior to the governor’s stay at home order, we encouraged visiting with residents through windows. While these visits are a creative way to bring joy to our residents, we encountered some difficulties. Throughout Minnesota, windows were opened and items were passed through the window to a resident potentially exposing not just the resident being visited, but other residents and staff of the care center.  Residents are also at greater risk of falling in their attempt to try to get to a window without assistance.  Privacy issues occurred as visitors were walking by windows of other residents. 

Again, we encourage you to follow the governor’s stay at home mandate.  As indicated in the governor’s address, the stay at home mandate has successfully bought Minnesota time to better prepare for the imminent outbreak. 

If you choose not to follow the governor’s stay at home mandate and plan to make a window visit to your loved one, we ask that you call ahead and schedule the visit so an employee is available to assist the resident at that time.  We encourage you to use alternative means of communicating with residents such as phone calls, Facebook, Skype, etc.  Thank you for your patience as we learn how to navigate visitors in these unprecedented times. Our highest priority is reducing the risk of occurrence and transmission within our communities.

Covid-19 Plan 3/17/20

We at St. Francis Health Services of Morris take caring for your loved ones very seriously.

In response to coronavirus (COVID-19) we have aggressively implemented prevention and preparedness activities in all of our care centers (nursing homes, assisted livings, and group homes).

These interventions are intended to address the risk for our residents and employees from contracting and spreading the COVID-19.  We continue to follow guidelines provided to us by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and our local and state health agencies.

Visitor Restrictions:

  • Restricting all visitors effective immediately, with the exception of compassionate care. Essential visits are determined and evaluated case-by-case.
  • Restricting all volunteers and non-essential health care personnel.  A limited number of volunteers have been assigned to screening tasks and limited to a single entry door.

Infection Control Practices

  • We are monitoring our residents for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection and will work with our providers if someone becomes symptomatic.
  • We are following the guidelines of quarantine when a resident is newly admitted, been out of the care center, or been exposed to individuals at risk.
  • We have limited essential entrance to the building to one location.
  • We are actively monitoring and screening all employees/contractors upon entry into each of the care centers.
  • We have cancelled all group activities including communal dining.
  • We are practicing social distancing within each of our care centers.
  • We ask all deliveries be left at the care center identified door exterior entrance.

Status of COVID-19 Monitoring

  • We continue to monitor for updates, changes, and recommendations on a daily basis from all legitimate sources.
  • We have a designated team that is reviewing and updating infection prevention practices and emergency preparedness activities.
  • We are in contact with our local and state health department and emergency preparedness contacts.
  • We will continue to update residents, families, and this website as new information becomes available.

Trusted Resources for Official Updates:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-new-measures-protect-nursing-home-residents-covid-19 

Minnesota Department of Health: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

Award of Merit for Performance Excellence in Aging Services

St. Francis Health Services Recognized for Achievement in Quality Morris, MN – February 5th, 2020 – St. Francis Health Services received the Award of Merit for Performance Excellence in Aging Services from LeadingAge Minnesota for its demonstrated commitment to quality and continuous improvement. “Quality improvement in long-term services and supports is a continuous process, bettering our best each day to provide exceptional care and services to older adults,” said Gayle Kvenvold, President and CEO, LeadingAge Minnesota. “We congratulate St. Francis Health Services for their demonstrated commitment to quality in all that they do. By completing this intensive program, St. Francis Health Services and their dedicated employees are working together as a collaborative team to deliver higher quality care and services to the older adults they serve.” Performance Excellence in Aging Services was created by LeadingAge Minnesota in 2017 to help aging services providers innovate and improve the quality services and supports they provide to older adults. The continuous learning and development program is centered on the core values and criteria of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which focuses on seven areas of achievement and improvement: leadership, strategy, customers, measurement, workforce, operations and results. To achieve the Award of Merit, St. Francis Health Services completed an in-depth organizational self-assessment to identify, prioritize and address improvement opportunities in their organization. By completing this initial phase of the Performance Excellence in Aging Services program, St. Francis Health Services has demonstrated that they have effective systems in place that will enable them to better serve older adults, empower staff teams, and achieve and sustain quality efforts more efficiently and effectively. Carol Raw, CEO/President states “As the newly appointed CEO/President of St. Francis Health Services, I sought confirmation from an external source that the systems we had in place were truly aligned with our strategic goals; that the services we provide are a reflection of the needs of the communities we serve and that our leadership staff are engaged in the creation of, and accountable for, the strategic plan outcomes. I also felt the messaging of our mission and core values had lost its strength as the main cultural component. While we had many quality initiatives in place, ironically we had no corporate level quality review to identify as a team the cause of our problems, or a method to create and implement action plans to resolve problems and achieve objectives. Each of these areas have now been addressed and we are beginning our first year of accountable strategic planning using annual objectives and action plans to measure our progress. The Performance Excellence program provided us with the tools to methodically assess our organization and collaboratively reach an understanding of who St. Francis Health Services is overall, but specifically in the areas of leadership, strategy, customers, measurement & analysis, workforce, operations and results. We are excited to continue down the path of assessment, but more so in working together as an executive and operational leadership team, to take meaningful strides forward in our continuous quality improvement.” For more information, contact Cami Peterson-DeVries, VICE PRESIDENT of Corporate Compliance & Ethics and Leadership Development at 320.589.4922 or cpeterson-devries@sfhs.org. About Organization St. Francis Health Services of Morris, Inc. (St. Francis) was created in 1984 as a not-for-profit organization committed to providing quality services to people of all ages with physical, mental and intellectual disabilities. Our service focus is the rural areas of MN with populations under 20k although we own and operate care centers in Duluth MN and a campus in Farmington MN. St. Francis was formed specifically to strategically expand services to meet the complex and diverse needs of vulnerable aging adults and people of all ages with physical, mental and intellectual disabilities. St. Francis’ corporate office provides operating support and oversight for 13 SNFs, 10 Assisted Living, 2 Independent Living and 74 Community Based Residential Group Homes throughout the state of Minnesota. St. Francis’ services include skilled nursing care (subacute, long-term, and memory care), assisted living with home healthcare and memory care, a full range of therapies, and community and residential services to people with physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities. St. Francis provides care to 838 residents within our SNFs, 342 tenants within our Assisted Living properties, and 309 persons who receive residential group home services in communities throughout MN. About LeadingAge Minnesota Driven to transform and enhance the experience of aging, LeadingAge Minnesota works alongside its members, caregivers, advocates and consumers to collectively shape the future of aging services and ensure older adults in every community live with dignity, meaning and purpose. Together with more than 60,000 caregivers, LeadingAge Minnesota members provide services and support to nearly 70,000 older adults every day in independent senior housing, assisted living, adult day, home care and skilled nursing settings.

SFHS Recognizes Retiring Governance Board Members

St. Francis Health Services of Morris recognizes our retiring Governance Board members who dedicated their valuable time and skills for the last 8 years.  Thank you Steve Lienemann and Neil Schmidgall for believing in our mission and offering invaluable leadership and support.  Steve continues to serve as a member of our sponsorship board

Cami Peterson-DeVries Promotion

I am excited to announce Cami Peterson-DeVries, DHA has accepted a new position within St. Francis Health Services as Vice-President of Corporate Compliance & Ethics and Leadership Development!

Most of you know that Cami has worked with St. Francis Health Services and our affiliates in various roles for the last 15 years.  Starting as the Director of Nursing at Guardian Angels Health and Rehabilitation Center in September of 2005, transferring to the Administrator/DON position at Renville Health Services in November 2012 and again to the Regional Director –South position in October of 2015.  Throughout this service, Cami has been fulfilling her education goal of acquiring her doctorate in Healthcare Administration.  Cami will begin her work in this new capacity effective 07/01/19 while continuing to assist with her current job duties of Regional Director until her replacement is hired.

In her new role, Cami will assume the role of Corporate Compliance & Ethics Director/Officer.  In addition, I am thrilled to announce that the St. Francis Board of Directors has unanimously agreed to depart on what I expect to be a 5 year leadership curriculum that will use the Baldridge Performance Excellence Framework.  Many of you will be learning more about this from Cami soon.  Very briefly, this continuous learning and development program focuses on seven core areas of achievement and improvement:

• Leadership: How management leads the organization and how the organization leads the community

• Strategy: How the organization establishes and plans to implement strategic directions

• Customers: How the organization builds and maintains strong, lasting relationships with customers

• Measurement: How the organization uses data to support key processes and manage performance

• Workforce: How the organization empowers and involves its workforce

• Operations: How the organization designs, manages and improves key processes

• Results: How the organization performs in terms of customer satisfaction, operational efficiencies, governance and social responsibility 

The program is based on a process of self-assessment and external evaluation focused on achieving success through goal setting.  Cami, in her new role of Leadership Development, will facilitate this work. 

Congratulations Cami; both on your educational successes and this new position with St. Francis! 

2019 Employee Recognition

St. Francis corporate employees enjoyed an afternoon of “digging in” to fill planters with spring flowers and later dinner and formal recognition for their service to our mission. Thanks all for attending the event but mostly for being part of a great team that accomplishes so much!

State Funding

Across Minnesota, dedicated caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living are working hard to provide safe, quality care and ensure our state’s seniors age well with the respect, care and support they deserve.

That is why it is so unfortunate to read about recent developments at the State Capitol. Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota House DFL are proposing funding cuts to nursing homes and creating funding disparities of up to 20 percent based solely on a zip code rather than the needs of our aging citizens and those who provide them with care.

A $68 million cut to nursing homes is a giant step backwards in what was once progressive reform to ensure access to safe, quality care for our rapidly-growing aging population and improve the wages and benefits of professional caregivers.    

In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature approved a new funding formula for nursing homes that based reimbursement on the actual cost of providing care. Because of this investment in senior care, St. Francis Health Services was able to increase nursing wages and benefits by 33 percent.  We were able to provide fully paid health insurance for our employees working over 30 hours per week.  We became more competitive amidst a shrinking labor pool in the communities in which we serve, improving our ability to recruit and retain staff as well as create pathways to help them advance in their careers. It also provided a sense of certainty and stability to the seniors we serve today and those who may one day require skilled nursing care.

The funding cuts proposed by Governor Walz and the Minnesota House DFL is the wrong direction for Minnesota. Our senior population is soaring as 60,000 people will turn 65 this year and every year through 2030. Over the next decade, Minnesota will need an additional 25,000 professional caregivers to help take care of them. Already, workforce shortages are restricting care for seniors. More than 4,000 seniors were turned away from nursing homes last year because they lacked the necessary staffing.

How do we properly care for our growing senior population when the state is cutting support to the places and the people who care for them? This is the time for Minnesota to support and invest in our aging population and the dedicated caregivers who help them age well and live life with purpose in the place they call home.