SASKATOON — The fifth anniversary of Samaritan Place was celebrated Jan. 17 with joy and gratitude.
The innovative Catholic care home, which has a resident-directed philosophy designed to maximize autonomy and independence, opened in 2012 in the Stonebridge neighbourhood of Saskatoon.
The anniversary celebration began with mass celebrated by diocesan administrator Rev. Kevin McGee and Rev. John Zunti, OMI. The Gospel reading from Luke was the parable of the Good Samaritan, which provides the inspiration for the facility’s model of care.
Jesus’ words to “go and do likewise” in showing compassion is considered the Samaritan Place call to mission as a Catholic health care facility, where care is “compassionate, resident directed, safe and respectful.”
The celebration continued in the dining room with a program of greetings from seniors’ health director Karen Levesque of the Saskatoon Health Region, executive director Scott Irwin of Emmanuel Care, Samaritan Place board chair Todd Rosenberg and executive director Lynn Kohle. Administrative co-ordinator Sharon Koop also read greetings sent by past executive director Juanita Tremeer.
Some of the residents at Samaritan Place who have lived there since the opening five years ago were featured in a video presented during the program.
Many expressed surprise that five years had passed since the opening, with one saying, “I can’t believe it! Has it really been that long?”
Residents also said that Samaritan Place is a good place to live, especially remarking on the caring staff who help to create a sense of home. One resident said that when she first moved in five years ago, there weren’t very many residents. She felt like the “queen of the castle.” Another resident noted that many residents he had lived with over the past five years have passed away.
Staff were also given an opportunity to speak, with presentations by care partners and LPN’s who have been a part of Samaritan Place since its opening.
Staff reminisced about a retreat at Queen’s House as the team was being formed. They expressed gratitude for family members and residents who had become “like family” to them over the years. Two nurses read out a poem they had composed about Samaritan Place, and a care partner sang two songs, accompanied on guitar.
Finally, five-year service awards were presented to 26 staff members by Jaclyn Heinrich (Clinical Services director), Kevin Breher (Support Services director) and Kohle. Each staff member was personally acknowledged, and a core value was read out — a value that the staff member considers the most important to their life and work. Staff chose the values of holistic care, compassion, human dignity, collaboration, spirituality and integrity as being key to their work in long-term care.
Samaritan Place includes 56 individual living suites, designed to maximize autonomy and independence. Another 24 units are specifically designated for individuals experiencing dementia. As well, 20 innovative “companion suites” are designed for two people who have different care needs, yet want to remain living together; this might be a husband and wife, siblings, or a parent and their adult child. Even though only one of them may need level 3 or 4 care, this design ensures families can stay together.
Other Catholic Health Care facilities operated by Emmanuel Care in the province include: St. Paul’s Hospital and St. Ann’s Senior Citizens’ Village in Saskatoon, St. Joseph’s Integrated Health Centre in Macklin, St. Peter’s Hospital in Melville, Marian Health Centre in Radville, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Estevan, St. Joseph’s Hospital Foyer d’Youville in Gravelbourg, Santa Maria care home in Regina, St. Anthony’s Hospital in Esterhazy, Foyer St. Joseph Nursing Home in Ponteix, and Providence Place for Holistic Care in Moose Jaw. Emmanuel Care also operates Trinity Manor, an independent and assisted-living facility across the street from Samaritan Place.
The Samaritan Place anniversary celebration also included food, balloons, music and a feeling of togetherness as the Samaritan Place community expressed gratitude to God for guidance and provision over the past five years and into the future.