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KATIE ZERR: There may be more tough decisions in the near future

How can Mobridge bounce back if we lose our senior care facility?
The prospect of not having a place where families can have the confidence their loved ones are getting the special care they need looms large on our horizon. The sound of defeat is in the voices of many residents as the reality of what is happening sets in.
With the documents filed in court last week, it looks as though, unless some last ditch miracle comes through for Mobridge, the care facility that has been a part of the community since the late 1960s will be gone.
Residents have been moving out, staff have been told their last day is January 31, and families are scrambling to find new homes for their elders.
It is so sad to watch this speeding train and know little can be done to slow it down. The State Department of Health has stated in documentation that they will not object to Black Hills Receiver, LLC’s request to close the Mobridge and Madison facilities in order to save the other 17 facilities under their management.
The closing of the Mobridge facility has been a shock to most of us, but for some, they saw the writing on the wall. Our facility went from having a fairly good rating of care by U.S. News and Report to rating as poor in recent years.
The periodical evaluates the care of a wide range of resident conditions at the nursing home, including both long-term chronic care and shorter-term rehabilitation. The data used to evaluate these homes come from the federal Nursing Home Compare program, and includes the nurse staffing, health inspection, and quality measures star ratings.
In addition to these measures, nursing homes were assessed based on the number of therapy minutes provided to their residents, as well as the consistency of their reported nursing staffing.
This rating is not a reflection of the staff. It is a reflection of the corporate owners of the facility, Golden LivingCenters, and the resources they provided for the staff.
The Mobridge facility is staffed with individuals who care about their residents. Many have or had been there for many years, until recent changes forced them to leave long-time employment there.
The chain reaction of poor management and strained resources has cost the facility. It wasn’t long ago we were showcasing an Alzheimer’s unit that provided safe and special care for those who need it most. At one time, this facility was a source of pride in our community, but corporate mismanagement and bad decisions have caused its downfall.
That unit was closed down recently and those residents put into the general population at the facility.
The debacle with Skyline Healthcare Corporation pushed this facility to the edge and Golden Living pushed it off the cliff.
But many on this staff have stayed because of their dedication to the people who live there. They stayed because they believe as our relatives age, they deserve to be cared for in the best way possible with the means, as stretched as they were, provided by corporate management.
In the coming weeks we will hear about the sacrifices some of these staff members made in order to provide the care the residents needed. Social media has some of these stories, whether truthful or not, about what the staff has been put through in past couple of years.
Now we need to look towards the future. We need to open all of the doors to look for a solution that could fit the community of Mobridge and the surrounding area.
A town the size of Mobridge needs an elder care facility. This closing will impact not only the residents and their families, the staff and their families, but our school district, our business community, our county and our future.
The focus may need to be shifted from what to do right now to what to do from this point on.
If we lose the licensing for this facility it will be difficult to get it back. If some Christmas miracle doesn’t come through, we may be looking at the gargantuan task of building a new facility and getting state licenses back into our community.
It will be extremely difficult and there may be some really tough choices to make. Some of these choices might impact every one of us, but we must weigh those impacts against the overall good for the many.
The worst thing that we can do is throw up our hands and walk away defeated.
We must prepare with people who are willing to view those opportunities with an open mind.
We must not slam the door without consideration, but weigh the good against the bad and do what is best overall.
But for now, please embrace those who will feel the brunt of this closure. Let them know we care and help them as best we can.
After all, that is what they have been doing for our family members for many years.
– Katie Zerr –