The doors are open and the beds are filled at Good Samaritan Society in Robbinsdale.
The specialty care community relocated from Minneapolis to 3815 West Broadway Ave. in late 2012. It has communities specializing in memory care, men’s behavioral care, Huntington’s disease and care of younger adults living with traumatic brain injuries.
Good Samaritan is an award-winning facility known for its Huntington’s disease care. It works closely with Dr. Martha Nance, the director of the Huntington’s Disease Society of American Center of Excellence for Family Services at Hennepin County Medical Center.
A hereditary and progressive degenerative disease, Huntington’s disease is a fatal brain disorder that destroys the body’s physical control and mental capacity.
Good Samaritan’s previous location in Minneapolis was spread out over an eight-story building that was becoming too big for the needs of the residents and workers. In addition, the building was in such need of repair that it was more cost effective to build an updated facility rather than fix the old location.
When the organization became aware that a former Good Samaritan Society was located in Robbinsdale, and the company still owned the land, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to build a new location.
“We knew we needed to rebuild the Minneapolis facility,” Executive Director Sharon St. Mary, said. “I’m happy with the decision. The building and the community itself has been very welcoming.”
St. Mary said that wasn’t the case in Minneapolis because the facility was located on the edge of a residential area. The Robbinsdale location allows residents to go to nearby lakes, shopping centers, parks and restaurants.
“Being here in Robbinsdale is so much more of an opportunity for our residents to get out in the community,” said Christine Kline, director of resource development and customer experience for Good Samaritan. “Robbinsdale has been so welcoming to us. It’s the first time we’ve been part of a community.”
All of the 96 Good Samaritan residents now have a private room with large bathrooms that are handicap-accessible, and have a tracking device to help move residents throughout their rooms. Each of the three floors has a fish tank, fireplace, kitchen and patio for residents to enjoy. In addition, the new location has a library, common area, chapel, billiards room, gazebo, a large patio, physical therapy room and state of the art equipment and technology.
The Northern Lights Room on the second floor of the 100,000 square-foot geothermal building is designed for sensory stimulation equipped with a somatron chair that incorporates music pulsations transferred throughout the body.
Some of the residents have been involved in the latest technologies since the move as well. With the help of a feeding device, resident Chad Biessel was able to feed himself for the first time in almost two decades.
The device, manufactured by Bestic AB, is the only one of its kind currently being used in the United States. With the help of a robot arm controlled by a mouth stick, Biessel is now able to choose the foods he would like to eat.
“The first time he tried it, he said ‘Chris, I fed myself for the first time in 18 years,’” Kline said. “Those are the things we take for granted.”
St. Mary, who had a hand in designing the new facility, said the equipment in the building is the most efficient they could possibly have.
Since the move, St. Mary has seen residents become more socially involved with each other and forming small social groups. She says that with the open floor plan and individual rooms, the Robbinsdale facility has allowed residents to have more socialization and engage in their surroundings.
“It’s been really fun,” St. Mary said on seeing the facility come together. “You design it and you hope it will have the outcome you’ve been planning for. It’s really fun to see how the residents have benefitted.”
Contact Anna Woodwick at [email protected]