Vickie Lynch has been doing her job for more than two decades. “I hadn’t planned on staying this long, but when you love what you do, why leave?” Lynch is the home care administrator for Good Samaritan Society Home Care in Preston, a faith-based organization that provides in-home health care services.
“Good Sam,” as it called by Lynch and other employees, has been helping people live life to its fullest in their own homes. “As the population is aging and hospital stays are becoming shorter and shorter, we’re there to help people stay in their homes longer and give them the tools to help themselves,” Lynch said.
The Good Samaritan Society Home Care is based out of Sioux Falls. The office in Preston serves Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Winona, Freeborn and the southern part of Olmsted Counties (excluding Rochester). Good Sam is Medicaid and Medicare certified and accepts private insurance, private pay and they have a Veterans Administration contract.
Lynch, a registered nurse, was approached by the Good Home Nursing Home administrator in December 1993 to start a home care agency in Preston and by July of 1994, Good Samaritan Society Home Care became a reality. Lynch said, “What I like best about my job is meeting the clients and knowing that through our work, we can help them achieve their health goals, maintain their independence and feel more secure in their homes.”
The Preston Good Samaritan Society has a case load of about 150 clients a day throughout their coverage area. Nurses and home health aides travel to the homes of many clients who would otherwise be unable to access the care they need. The six registered nurses and three LPNs provide medication management, wound care, labs, chronic disease management and support after hospitalization.
“We help clients recover following surgery, illness or injury,” Lynch said. “The biggest cause for re-hospitalization is people taking their medications incorrectly. The average hospital stay for major surgery is three days, and most people are still pretty groggy when they leave. It’s difficult for people to absorb that much information, so when we’re called in, we can teach and help them manage on a day-to-day basis.”
The nine home health aides provide personal care under the direction of a registered nurse, enabling clients to remain in their homes and be as independent as possible. They work closely with doctors, social workers and family members to provide quality care that promotes the health, happiness, and well-being of those they serve. Therapy is also available including physical, occupational and speech.
Lynch explained that referrals come from doctors and medical staff, but family members and individuals contact them as well. “We encourage people to call us even before the surgery or hospital stay,” Lynch said. “The more you know up front, the better it is. Most people wait until they need it and then struggle with multiple issues when they get home.”
Good Sam in Preston has an office manager and receptionist who work behind the scenes as the communication hub, making sure all the “i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.” They work to keep records and ensure procedures are followed. They also provide support for clients, families and manage the operations required to keep the agency running smoothly.
Two staff liaisons help to keep the agency in close contact with hospitals, clinics, social workers, clients, families and others who works with clients that may need services. Lynch, the administrator, oversees it all, providing leadership and direction, aligning the agency to the values and mission, and quality service in line with all the regulations and requirements.
Good Sam can also help set up Philips Lifeline personal emergency response systems, so those who need help can get it quickly. Telehealth technology provided by this agency means that vital signs can be checked and monitored by nurses on a regular basis. These services enable clients who have certain conditions to get help as soon as a need is detected. This gives clients and their families peace of mind knowing that they are being monitored.
According to the staff, the most important thing about the Good Samaritan Society is the mission that they embrace: In Christ’s Love, Everyone is Someone. Lynch said, “Every day we strive to look beyond ourselves, to be truly concerned about the people we meet, and to work with love and compassion.”
For more information, call (507) 765-2700. They are located at 200 St. Paul St. SW in Preston.