News & Events

Our Journey to Recovery through Prayer, Commemoration & Reflection

A virtual service on healing, reflection and remembrance. The service was intended to bring us together in prayer to honor our family, our friends, and our frontline and essential workers and help us move forward together. This service was led by Fr. Tom Knoblach, the Consultant for Healthcare Ethics from the Diocese of St. Cloud and pastor of the Church of the Sacred Heart in Sauk Rapids.

Pioneer Network Leadership Training

St. Francis Health Services of Morris hosted an intensive leadership training program in Little Falls on June 8 & 9. This training was provided by Pioneer Network, the national leader for culture change that advocates and builds a culture of aging where care and environments are directed by the person and relationships with all who live in our communities are promoted. 

Joan Devine, Pioneer Network’s Director of Education, shared about core person-directed values: relationships, choice, dignity, respect, self-determination and purposeful living.  Carol Raw, CEO of St. Francis Health Services, said “We are excited to begin this journey of culture change.  I look forward to witnessing the transformation within our communities.” The Pioneer Network Training will continue at each of our care centers led by their respective culture change coordinator. The first step involves each care center completing an assessment (Artifacts of Culture Change) and providing all staff education to support person centered/directed care.

This training program was made possible by funding awarded to SFHS for their Falls Prevention Project by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) performance based incentive payment program (PIPP) grant.  SFHS and Pioneer Network will continue to collaborate and work together to not only decrease their fall rate, but to improve outcomes in care that enhance quality of life and safety for all individuals receiving services.  

SFHS Recognized for Achievement in Quality and Performance Excellence

St. Francis Health Services received the Award of Honor for Performance Excellence in Aging Services from LeadingAge Minnesota. The award recognizes an advanced level of continuous quality improvement and outstanding achievements in 24 management practices focused on leadership, strategy, customers, measurement, workforce and operations.

“The Award of Honor in Performance Excellence in Aging Services recognizes the distinct accomplishments and positive outcomes by providers who are committed to the quality of care, services and support provided to older adults in aging services settings,” said Gayle Kvenvold, President and CEO, LeadingAge Minnesota. “We congratulate St. Francis Health Services for their demonstrated commitment to quality and excellence in all that they do.”

LeadingAge Minnesota created performance Excellence in Aging Services 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 demonstrated by high-performing organizations.

The Performance Excellence in Aging Services program Award of Honor recognizes organizations that have achieved the Award of Merit, the first level of performance excellence, and then continued their journey to implement an even more mature level of excellence in their organizational operations. To receive the Award of Honor, St. Francis Health Services was reviewed by trained evaluators and deemed as meeting established criteria, describing the systematic and effective processes they have in place for 24 different leadership and management practices within six key categories – leadership, strategy, customers, measurement, workforce, and operations.

MDH Recommendations for Safe Family Gatherings

MN Department of Health

Information for Safe Family Gatherings

Plan ahead

Take steps to lower the risk of COVID-19

  • If you are unvaccinated, limit chances for contact with someone with COVID-19. Two weeks prior to your gathering, avoid people who do not live with you and settings where you cannot stay at least 6 feet away from others. Avoid bars, restaurants, or carpools where people do not consistently wear a mask.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you are inside places other than your home.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask at outdoor events where you cannot stay at least 6 feet away from others. See CDC: Improve How Your Mask Protects You (
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly and ask people coming into your home to do the same.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others who live outside your household, whenever you can.

Create a safe setting

Create a safe setting for visitors

  • Before anyone enters your home, ask if they have had a fever, cough, body aches, fatigue, runny nose, or other symptoms of COVID-19. People with symptoms should stay home and away from all others. They should be tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
  • Before anyone enters your home, ask if they have recently been near someone with COVID-19. People who have spent time near a person with COVID-19 should stay home and away from others. They should be tested five to seven days after the contact.
  • Before bringing someone who needs long-term care into your home, get yourself and your household members tested for COVID-19.
  •  Before anyone enters your home, especially someone at-risk for more severe illness, wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose completely.
  • Before anyone enters your car, wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose completely. If people staying with you can also wear a mask, ask them to do so as well.
  • Before anyone enters your home, set up your house so people can stay 6 feet apart from others. See Indoor Air Considerations: COVID-19 ( LONG – TERM CARE GUIDANCE FOR OUTINGS.
  •  For current recommendations about creating a safe space for visitors, see Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19 (

Contact the nursing home or assisted living-type facility

Nursing homes and assisted living-type facilities follow strict regulations and guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their buildings. Before taking someone out of nursing homes or assisted living-type facilities, make sure you understand the current guidelines.

Vaccination for COVID-19 is ongoing. We look forward to the day when more restrictions can be removed.

LTC Administrator Week

May be an image of 13 people, people standing and text that says 'Long Term Care Administrator's Week Week March 8th 13th さ HEALTH ST.FRANCIS Morris THANK YOU SFHS ADMINISTRATORS!!'

Administrators are key players in our care team and are entrusted with the responsibility of managing the care of our loved ones. They touch the lives of residents and families, and, most importantly, ensure that their staff provides the highest level of quality care to a vulnerable population.

To become an administrator takes commitment and dedication. They undertake a rigorous classes, followed by state and national exams. Upon becoming an administrator, they must continue life-long learning to provide the best care possible. They are masters of multi-tasking, taking into account every aspect of a person’s life, not just their medical needs, while building a sense of home and community

This year LTC Administrator’s Week takes on added significance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team’s Administrators have lead the way in the battle with this virus.


Autumn Roark, LNHA
Browns Valley Health Center

Chester Fishel
Chisholm Health Center

Elizabeth Letich
Farmington Health Services

Brittany Loosbrock
Franciscan Health Center

Shane P. Roche
Guardian Angels Health & Rehabilitation Center

Madelyn Blaha
Little Falls Health Services

Casie Knoshal, LNHA
Renville Health Services

Tara Adkins
Duluth Health Services

Paula Henrickson
Morris Health Services

Laura Erickson
Zumbrota Health Services

Stephanie Fairchild
Koochiching Health Services

Emily Straw
Pennington Health Services

Ali Meyer
Aitkin Health Services

Welcome Emily Straw as PHS Administrator!

We are pleased to announce

Emily Straw

Has Joined Our Team

As Pennington Health Services Administrator

Emily has lived in the Greenbush area since her childhood and attended college at the University of Minnesota – Moorhead obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration and her Administrator’s license in 2008.  She comes to Thief River Care Center with over ten years of experience as a licensed Administrator.

Emily is a member of the Catholic faith and enjoys serving senior citizens and looks forward to meeting residents of Pennington Health Services.  Emily and her husband, Nick, have three children ages 11, 8 and 4.  Emily and her family enjoy summertime activities like camping, beach-going and swimming.  Emily enjoys reading, baking, and arts like painting.  

Emily will begin her duties with Pennington Health Services on February 22nd, 2021.  Please help us in giving her a warm welcome.

Falls Prevention

St. Francis Health Services of Morris (SFHS) is pleased to announce we were recently awarded a Minnesota Nursing Facility Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) focused on preventing falls. 

The initiative for fall prevention and fall reduction began January 1, 2021 and will continue through December 31, 2022 within each of our SFHS’ thirteen skilled nursing care centers; Aitkin Health Services, Browns Valley Health Center, Chisholm Health Center, Duluth Health Services, Farmington Health Services, Franciscan Health Center, Guardian Angels Health & Rehab Center, Koochiching Health Services, Little Falls Health Services, Morris Health Services, Pennington Health Services, Renville Health Services, and Zumbrota Health Services.

The Falls Prevention Project will provide our care centers with additional resources to make positive system improvements to prevent falls for individuals receiving services that is focused on each individual’s preferences and needs.  This program will have three components; expanding falls prevention and person centered education, implementing Safe Being technology, and increasing exercise program opportunities.

The education component of the Falls Prevention Project comes to us with a new partnership with Pioneer Network to expand our work force knowledge of Person Centered/Directed care. Pioneer Network is the national leader for culture change that advocates and builds a culture of aging where individual choices are respected and fosters care that is directed by the person receiving it.  Staff will learn how to better address needs and lifestyle choices to reduce an individual receiving services’ risk for falls. 

In the second part of our Falls Prevention Project, we will be installing Safe Being technology in our care centers.  The Safe Being system provides the capability for real time remote monitoring while respecting the person’s privacy.  Safe Being uses a watch-like device that provides data on lifestyles and daily activities and interprets gestures identifying how/when a resident is moving, eating, drinking and sleeping.  Each person wearing the device will send an alert when there is a change in status or has been identified as being at risk for a potential fall or has fallen. 

The third component of the Falls Prevention Project will be increasing exercise program opportunities such as Bingocize and Otago to improve strength, flexibility, and balance to help reduce falls. 

The Falls Prevention Project is intended to build sustainable practices throughout our care centers beyond the original two year grant period.  SFHS is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization.  In addition to their skilled nursing care centers, they offer a variety of services that include customized/assisted living, a full range of therapies, senior housing, transitional and skilled nursing care, and behavioral and residential programs throughout the State of Minnesota.