News & Events

National Skilled Nursing Care Week

May 10th-16th, 2020

National Skilled Nursing Care Week has been held annually since 1967. It was created by the American Health Care Association to recognize the vital role care centers have in providing for our seniors. For years, care communities use this week to share the relationships that develop between staff and residents; the activities that are a part of each day and the memories made by all who live and work within its care communities. This event is an opportunity to display the advances in person-centered care and the achievements of the care centers. However, like most scheduled events this year, Skilled Nursing Care Week will be different. Friends and family will not be able to enter the buildings to join in the celebrations. Never the less, it is more important than ever to honor our residents and staff for the work they do within a skilled nursing care center. We urge everyone to join in virtually to support our residents and staff.

“Sharing Our Wisdom” is the 2020 theme for National Skilled Nursing Care Week. This theme intends to celebrate the residents and their staff by showing the unique insight our seniors have on life. This speaks volumes for what our world is currently enduring. Our seniors have a way of reminding us to be present, to cherish what we have and to not take things for granted.

As we start this week, we want to say thank you to all those involved in helping enrich the lives of our seniors. We appreciate all of our staff and volunteers for their incredible dedication and passion for their work. This year St Francis Health Services received the Award of Merit for Performance Excellence in Aging Services from LeadingAge Minnesota for our demonstrated commitment to quality and continuous improvement. We recognize that this would not have happened without the strength of our staff who continue to surpass any expectations we may have and bring joy to our residents every day.

We appreciate you and we thank you for every kind act that you show to those you work alongside to provide care for those entrusted to us!

-St. Francis Health Services

Covid-19 Plan – Updated 07/15/2020

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:

  • Indoor person to person visits are not allowed unless considered under the Compassionate Visit criteria.  Alternative opportunities for visits by appointment include,
    • Virtual visits.
    • Open or closed window visits with social distancing.
    • Outdoor patio visits with social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required upon visitor successfully passing the visitor screening. All outdoor visits must be monitored by staff.
  • Volunteers.  In some cases, volunteers have been specially trained and specifically assigned screening or monitoring duties and have limited access to the care center with PPE use.
  • Non-essential health care providers (HCP).  In some cases, depending on ability to use telehealth methods and certain procedures required, HCP are allowed acces

Other Infection Control Practices:

  • Residents are monitored for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection.
    • Resident(s) presenting with respiratory symptoms consistent with CoVid-19 will be recommended for testing and quarantined while awaiting test results.
    • Dependent on outcomes, point prevalence testing (PPT) of the entire resident population and employees will implemented.
  • Residents are quarantined
    • upon admission,
    • if exposed to individuals with COVID-19 or those with exposure risk,
    • or upon return from medically emergent appointments out of the care center.  Some medically necessary appointments may not require quarantine upon re-entry to the care center.
  • Essential health care providers (HCP), who cannot use telehealth methods for treatment or are providing specific procedures will be allowed access using PPE and using specific ICP.
  • Essential HCP, Compassionate Criteria visits and employee entrance to the building will be limited to one location when possible.
  • Employees/contractors are screened upon entry and actively monitored while in the care center.
    • Any staff or contractor showing respiratory symptoms consistent with CoVid-19 will be asked to be tested and not allowed to enter the building and expected to quarantine at home while waiting for test results.
  • Social distancing is practiced throughout the building.
  • All Staff are required to wear PPE including a surgical masks and eye protection.    Additional PPE is required if a segregated unit is used or outbreak occurs.
  • Residents are required to wear masks while receiving cares or are out of their room, unless medically exempt.
  • All deliveries are left at the care center designated delivery door or in the vestibule where possible.
  • Cleaning protocols are met for COVID-19.

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.

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 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.

Kind Dining Training Begins as part of Nutrition and Optimal Weight (NOW) Grant Implementation

A Kind Dining training was held April 9-11, 2019 at Little Falls Health Services facilitated by Cindy Heilman, CEO of Higher Standards and Creator of Kind Dining.  Kind Dining is a meal service method based on hospitality and “bringing warmth to the table.”  This program will provide staff the knowledge and tools necessary to enhance the dining experience for residents by promoting person-centered care and nurturing a healthy sense of community and service.  The Kind Dining trainer at each care center will train staff in the concepts, practices, and standards of Kind Dining.  St. Francis Health Services is committed to improving the dining experience for our residents to reduce the number of residents experiencing unintended or unexplained weight loss. 

Front row: Jeremy Brew (Viewcrest Health Center-Duluth)
Middle row: Vicki Koschak (Guardian Angels Health & Rehab Center-Hibbing), Tina Janezich (Chisholm Health Center), Tracey Egan (Farmington Health Services), Christine Toupal (Renville Health Services), Renee Thompson (Zumbrota Health Services), Cindy Heilman (Kind Dining)
Back row: Joyce Schiele (West Wind Village-Morris), Karen Wilson (Pennington Health Services-Thief River Falls), Stephanie Fairchild (Koochiching Health Services-Littlefork), Pam Bellamy (Little Falls Health Services), CarrieAnn Jonas (Aitkin Health Services), Sheila Greseth (Browns Valley Health Center), Jessica Hondl (Franciscan Health Center-Duluth)
Marla Miller, Corporate Grant Coordinator, with Cindy Heilman, Kind Dining/Higher Standards