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Good Sam nursing home raises funds for new spa room

There are tub rooms located in each wing of the Good Samaritan Society Nursing Home in Blackduck. The rooms are small and have an "institutional feel," according to administrator Angel Normandin. The new Spa Room would be three times the size with a new whirlpool tub and attached bathroom and toilet. Photo by Christen Furlong.

The Good Samaritan Society of Blackduck is hosting a golf tournament on Saturday, Aug. 17 at the Blackduck Public Golf Course to raise funds for a new spa room in its nursing home facility.

The tournament will be a four-person scramble starting at noon with sponsorship opportunities for those looking to donate to the project. The cost to enter is $35 with discounted greens fee to play the course.

According to Angel Normandin, the Good Samaritan administrator for Blackduck and Clearbrook, the renovations have been discussed for over a year, but finally put into action this spring.

"Currently what the residents and the nursing facility are using is a very institutional-type bath -- or whirlpool," Normandin said. "It's what was common when they built back in the 70s, which is when our facility was built."

The spa room renovation project has been estimated to cost approximately $45,000, an amount that will likely be split among various fundraisers, silent auctions, donations and grants.

Normandin has been working along side fellow staff members, Jackie Rentz and Hope Bonar, along with Bonar's husband, Tom, to organize the tournament and other various fundraisers that will take place throughout the remainder of the year.

According to Normandin, 40 years ago, facilities like Blackduck's were designed around a care model that desired "smaller rooms and less medically-complex patients."

At one time, the nursing home bedrooms each contained two residents. Since that time, the care model has changed, calling for private rooms and a home-like atmosphere.

But because of the former model, the bathing rooms currently in use for nursing home residents are no bigger than a large janitorial closet and contains outdated equipment. The size and layout of the rooms have not changed since the building was erected in 1972.

"What we would like to do -- we have a room -- is build a spa room, making the bathing a much better experience," Normandin said. "It would allow for individuals to go in, have all the care provided to them and get everything done in one room, which is just not the case right now."

In order for residents to bathe, the individual must remove clothing in his or her private room, adorn a robe and then walk down the hallway to the tub room. The tubs are located in a corner and only allow caregivers two sides of the tub -- front and right side -- to assist residents during the bathing process.

"Its not conducive to giving the care that we want," Normandin explained. "(The new room) would, again, enhance the bathing experience."

The aforementioned new room is currently being used for storage and is approximately three times larger than the current bathing rooms. It has an attached bathroom and would allow the new whirlpool bathtub to be approached from three sides. Normandin also added that the new room could be better heated for comfort and residents could change clothes right in the bathroom eliminating the split of process between different rooms.

"The residents know about it -- and the staff," she said. "Everybody is excited because it will enhance the experience and make the staff's job that much easier. They will be able to provide a wonderful bathing experience, which (residents) get now, but in a better environment."

The golf tournament itself will take place on the same day as the Backwoods Bash and Normandin sees this as a bonus.

"Our goal was to keep things smaller so that people can take part in the Backwoods Bash," she said. "We're hoping that in conjunction with the Bash, people are going to take some time to golf around. We're hoping for 18 teams."

As of the day this article was written, only four teams were signed up to take part in the tournament, but registration is open until the day of the event. There will be games, door prizes and grand prizes to the teams that place first, second and third.

"Local merchants have been absolutely fabulous," Normandin said of the donations she has received for tournament prizes. One prize includes a pass for two free 18-hole rounds at 15 area golf courses.

"If we bring in $3,500 to $5,000, we would be successful," she said. "We're about halfway there. We do need additional fundraisers to complete the spa. This alone won't complete the cost."

The other fundraising opportunities will be a silent auction in October and a quilt raffle in November. The quilt is being made by director of nursing, Dawna Rankin.

"Many of the (residents) are here long term," Normandin said. "And even if not long-term, they deserve to feel like this is a home-like environment and not an institutional environment.

"The industry -- the profession -- has changed drastically in the last 50 years. We want to deliver more individualized care and really cater to the needs of every resident individually. (The spa room) helps enhance that."