• Appleton Area Health Services’ Care Center Ranks Top in State

    US News and World Report recently released its latest rankings of the best care centers in each state. In Minnesota, Appleton Area Health Services’ Care Center made the top 52. Minnesota fared better than the national average in this ranking. 21% of Minnesota facilities achieved five stars, compared to 19% nationally. Within Minnesota’s 79 best care centers, 68% were members of Aging Services of Minnesota.


    US News and World Report uses the overall ratings in the 5-star rating system of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The magazine describes facilities with five stars overall as the best in their state.


    (Courtesy of The Appleton Press)

  • Lac qui Parle Health Network receives $38,000 grant for Wellness Program – Learn how you can get involved!

     The Office of Community Engagement (OCEH) of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Minnesota recently awarded a Rural Community Capacity Enhancement Grant in the amount of $38,000 to the Lac qui Parle Health Network.
    The Community Wellness Program that was awarded the grant dollars was based on an idea that was first developed in 2011 through Johnson Memorial Health Services in Dawson.  This project  would expand the Dawson challenge to the Madison and Appleton communities and include workshops and screening events at various locations in all three communities designed to reach the at risk population where they live.
    Live Well. Be Well. is your opportunity to take advantage of health & fitness knowledge & resources during a regional call to action. We all know what we should be doing to stay active and health and why it’s important, but sometimes it’s nice to have that extra motivation to get on & stay on track. Live Well. Be Well., is that motivation and now you don’t have to do it alone!
    This team-based initiative is aimed at improving the wellness of the Madison, Appleton and Dawson communities through an abundance of unique activities. By creating a supportive environment among teams, we will encourage participants to improve their overall health as well as increase camaraderie in our communities. This is not about weight loss, however if your goal is to lose weight – great! Many people are at their goal weight and still practice very unhealthy habits…and that’s where we’d like to see improvement. This challenge is for everyone, no matter your fitness profile.
    Each team consists of four team members on it. Participants of the challenge will be accumulating points by choosing from a variety of options including: volunteering, planting a garden, giving blood and doing 90-150 minutes of weekly activities. In addition participants will have an opportunity each week to gain bonus points by completing the weekly challenge. Competitors must fill out a weekly tracking sheet detailing points earned.
    The challenge will run from April 1 through June 28, 2013. Live Well. Be Well. provides a framework and support for individuals to evaluate their health needs, create goals to carry through the challenge and beyond, and a structure to build a healthier and more active community. The top three teams in each community will receive a cash prize; in fact first prize is $500! The top three individuals in the entire challenge will also receive a prize. Start getting your teams together now!
    Live Well. Be Well. is brought to you by the Lac qui Parle Health Network, which consists of Madison Lutheran Home, Johnson Memorial Health Services and Appleton Area Health Services. The challenge is being sponsored by Healthland, The Dawson Co-op Credit Union, Minnwest Bank, Kelin Bank, Madison Bottling Company, United Prairie Bank and KLQP Radio . For more information or to sign up your team, please contact Janae Olson at , Fawna Berger or simply give us a call at 320.289.1580.

    Learn More

  • New Hospice Family Room Unveiled at AAHS

    Rice Hospice – Appleton
    proudly unveiled
    their new family
    room at Appleton Area
    Health Services (AAHS).
    Located in the west wing
    of the Appleton Nursing
    Home, the room is completely
    redecorated for a
    cozy, comfortable place for
    families to either take a
    break from visiting their
    loved one in the hospital or
    nursing home, or spend the
    night if necessary.
    A $10,000 donation from
    the Arlys Heinecke estate
    made the transformation of
    the room possible. Appleton
    Hospice Nurse Kris
    Benson noted the Heinecke’s
    specifically ear
    marked the funds for a Hospice
    family room. However,
    it has been a long process in
    the making.
    Benson said the local
    Hospice has been working
    with AAHS as to the logistics
    of the room. With the
    reorganization to accommodate
    resident needs at
    the nursing home, this was
    a good time to renovate a
    room. “This was the perfect
    time to pull everything together,”
    she said.
    The room is beautifully
    decorated with a black
    leather hide-a-bed and
    chairs, flat screen TV,
    kitchenette, and a dining
    table and chairs. The private
    bathroom with toilet,
    sink and shower completes
    a place Hospice family
    members can use as
    Handling the renovations
    and decorating were Janae Olson, marketing and
    community relations manager,
    Kris Schwartz, rehab
    aide and CNA at the nursing
    home, and Beth Kellen,
    RN care coordinator.
    Appleton’s Hospice is a
    branch of Rice Hospice of
    Willmar. Other area
    branches are Paynesville,
    Benson, Ortonville-
    Graceville, Dawson, Granite
    Falls, and Montevideo.
    The Hospice team consists
    of many professionals
    – nurses, aides, social workers,
    therapists, chaplains,
    bereavement coordinators,
    and the medical director, as
    well as specially-trained
    volunteers, who all work
    together to support individuals
    and their families.
    The team works closely
    with the patient, their family,
    and the patient’s personal
    physician to develop
    an individualized plan of
    care that helps the patient
    meet their goals for living
    the last months of their life.
    Rice Hospice Programwide
    Director is Mary Beth
    Potter. Hospice employees
    for the Appleton branch are
    Social Worker Kathy
    Tweten, Nurse Kris Benson,
    Volunteer Coordinator Liz
    McTighe, and Hospice Chapalin
    Barb McKewin.
    What is Hospice
    Dealing with a terminal
    illness can be overwhelming.
    The patient and their
    family can find themselves
    in the midst of hospital visits,
    trips to the emergency
    room, fatigue, pain and
    emotional stress. With so
    much to deal with, it can be
    hard to know the best
    course of action to address
    all these issues and more.
    Hospice is here to help.
    Hospice provides care to
    both patients and families
    when a family member has
    been medically diagnosed
    with a terminal progressive
    disease with a life expectancy
    of six months or
    less if the illness runs its
    normal course.
    Hospice neither hastens
    nor postpones death, but affirms
    life and regards dying
    as a normal process.
    The Hospice team comes
    to the patient’s home –
    whether that be in their
    private home, nursing
    home, assisted living facility
    – or hospital, to provide
    a full umbrella of care. Covered
    by Medicare, Medicaid,
    and most private insurance
    companies, the
    Hospice benefit includes all
    medications, medical
    equipment, and services required
    to treat the terminal

    Hospice is available 24
    hours per day, seven days a
    week. In the middle of the
    night or weekend, patients
    and families may call to
    talk with a Hospice team
    member. If needed, the
    Hospice staff member will
    come to the home to help
    with care.
    Hospice is about quality
    of life, and living each day to the fullest.
    Once the patient has
    passed on, grief support is
    provided to the surviving
    family members for at least
    13 months, helping the
    family through all those
    painful firsts. Through
    mailings, phone calls, and
    optional support groups and
    individual meetings, those
    who are grieving can access
    support along their road of

  • Appleton Area Health Services Announces the addition of Dr. Susan Moore, MD, ABFM

    Dr. Susan Moore, MD, ABFM will join the family at Appleton Area Health Services (AAHS) in the Spring of 2013. She comes to AAHS with over seven years of experience in the healthcare industry; most recently in Hammond, Indiana. Dr. Moore received her bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering  from Kettering University, then went onto receive her doctorate of medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School.

    Dr. Moore will begin seeing patients of all ages in the Spring of 2013. Her patient philosophy is:

    • Understand patient concerns
    • Inform patient of limitations
    • Develop a plan with patient
    • Reinforce her willingness to help patient
    • Educate patient about their medical condition
    • Discuss the active role in patient’s controlling their medical health
    • Utilize preventative medicine policies

    Dr. Moore was born in Mandiville, Jamacia and raised in Lansing, Michigan with her two brothers.  She and her son, Henry moved to the Appleton community in January of 2013 and has enjoyed acquainting themselves with their new home.

    Some of her interests include dancing, theater, literature, cricket, soccer and playing dominos.  Meet her in person at the Appleton Area Health Services’ Foundation 1st Annual Community Gala Fundraiser at Shooters on Friday, March 8, 2013. Social hour takes place at 6:00 p.m. with dinner, a live auction and entrainment to follow. Tickets are available at AAHS for $40.

  • Lac qui Parle Health Network Wins 2013 Innovation Award

    St. Paul, Minn. – The Lac qui Parle Health Network, which includes Appleton Area Health Services (Appleton, MN), Johnson Memorial Health Services (Dawson, MN) and Madison Lutheran Home (Madison, MN) has received a 2013 Leading Change Innovation Award from Aging Services of Minnesota. The Innovation Awards showcase the very best innovative programs and ideas in older adult services in the state of Minnesota. The Aging Services awards are among the highest honors for aging services organizations in Minnesota.

    The three facilities teamed up to combine restorative nursing, or rehab, with the fun and interesting activities to encourage residents to exercise and follow through on their rehabilitation. The program, dubbed Putting the FUN in Rehab Nursing, is a first-of-its-kind combination in the country.

    Faced with unenthusiastic, reluctant participation in rehab therapy by residents, The Lac qui Parle Network of care centers searched quality improvement organizations throughout the country for a model they could adapt.

    “We contacted other facilities and searched online for ideas on how to do this, and we were unable to find anything,” said program coordinator Nancy St. Sauver. “So we decided to create our own.”

    The result was an innovative coordinated program that took residents’ past interested such as fishing, bowling, gardening or sports to create a collection of fun exercises around each interest area.

    “The results were stunning,” noted St. Sauver. Soon the residents were looking forward to the social interconnection, friendly competition and feelings of accomplishment. Quality indicator scores improved, residents experienced an improved ability to move around the room and range of motion.

    Representatives from the care centers shared their experience at the three-day conference in Minneapolis last week.

    A toolkit was developed to share the program with other senior care organizations.

  • The Inside Scoop for March – Therapies & Fall Prevention

    Appleton Area Health Services offers community education to promote the health, well being, and learning of all community members. Each month, we’ll offer ‘the inside scoop’ on health topics based on your wants and needs. To submit a topic, please email Here’s what’s coming up for March:

    Presenter: Neil Feist, Physical Therapist
    When: Thursday, March 14 at 5:00pm
    Where: AAHS Education Room (Lower Level of Care Center)

    The Inside Scoop for March will be presented by Neil Feist, Physical Therapist with Big Stone Therapies (BST). Neil will give an introduction on BST, what therapy can do for you and spend the majority of  the presentation focusing on fall prevention. Neil works with a variety of patients, rehabilitation and wellness. He received his master’s degree in physical therapy from the University of North Dakota. Neil is also a member of the APTA.

    Food and refreshments will be provided. RSVP is requested, but not required. Call Janae at 289.1580 to hold your seat for March!

  • The Inside Scoop for February – Smoking, How To Quit, Emphysema, Bronchitis, Asthma

    Appleton Area Health Services offers community education to promote the health, well being, and learning of all community members. Each month, we’ll offer ‘the inside scoop’ on health topics based on your wants and needs. To submit a topic, please email Here’s what’s coming up in February:

    Presenter: Kurt Koenen RRT, RCP
    When: Tuesday, February 19 at 5:00pm
    Where: AAHS Education Room (Lower Level of Care Center)

    The Inside Scoop for February will be presented by Kurt Koenen RRT, RCP from Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital and focused on smoking, how to quit smoking, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma and treatments. Kurt has been at CCMH for seven years. Prior to CCMH, Kurt worked at Rice Hospital in Willmar for 18 years and Ramsey Hospital in St. Paul for 2 years while in college, where he started my Respiratory career. He received his Respiratory degree in 1988 from St. Paul College in St. Paul, MN.

    Food and refreshments will be provided. RSVP is requested, but not required. Call Janae at 289.1580 to hold your seat for February!

  • AAHS’ Foundation Community Gala Fundraiser – March 8

    The Appleton Area Health Services’ Foundation would like to invite you to join us at our first annual community gala fundraiser on Friday, March 8. The event will be held at Shooters in Appleton and begins at 6pm. Dinner and raffle tickets are available at Appleton Area Health Services, through any manager or Foundation Board Member. It’s going to be a great night with entertainment from The Classics, a live auction and more. Proceeds from the event will go towards creating a spa room in our care center. Hope to see you there – Friday, March 8 – Appleton Area Health Services’ Foundation first annual community gala fundraiser.

  • Ignoring Heart Attack Symptoms Can Be a Fatal Mistake

    If heart attacks really happened as they are portrayed in the movies – the sudden, intense chest pain that brings you to your knees — it would be easier to know when to go to the hospital.  But in reality, the pain and discomfort caused by a heart attack can be more subtle, especially for women.

    Heart attacks are the leading killer of both men and women in America.  Waiting for symptoms to subside could result in an undesirable outcome.  A heart attack happens every 34 seconds in America, affecting more than a million people each year.  More than a third of them pass away.

    “If you’re having a heart attack, prompt medical attention may help protect your heart muscle from permanent damage, and perhaps save your life,” says Romulo V. Kabatay, M.D. at Appleton Area Health Services. “The medical term for heart attack is myocardial infarction.  A heart attack occurs when the blood that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is blocked, often by a blood clot.  A less common cause of a heart attack is a coronary artery spasm that restricts blood flow.  Without oxygen, heart muscle cells begin to break down.  A heart attack can cause permanent damage to the heart, impairing its pumping ability.  However, survival rates are favorable for those who seek immediate medical attention.”

    A heart attack may be the first sign of coronary artery disease (CAD) which can be caused by plaque build-up.  CAD narrows or blocks the arteries and increases the likelihood of developing blood clots.  In addition to heart attacks, CAD can lead to other medical problems including angina, which causes chest pain and discomfort, or arrhythmia which is an irregular heartbeat.  Over time angina can weaken the heart muscle and cause heart failure.

    Heart attack symptoms can range from mild discomfort to gripping pain.  Many people put off seeking medical attention, blaming indigestion or not recognizing the signs.  Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these heart attack symptoms:

    • A mild to severe feeling of pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center or left side of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
    • Discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or upper part of the stomach
    • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort or pain
    • Nausea, vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness
    • Cold sweats
    • Unusual or unexplained fatigue

    Chest pain or discomfort is the most common sign of heart attack in both men and women.  However, women are more likely than men to experience the less obvious symptoms.  As soon as heart attack symptoms begin, research shows that chewing an aspirin can be beneficial since this common drug has an anti-clotting effect in the bloodstream.  Once medical help is at hand, avoid losing precious treatment time.  Immediately tell the ambulance or emergency room personnel that you think you may be having a heart attack.  To determine if a heart attack is in progress or has occurred, your vital signs will be monitored and imaging or blood tests will be done if necessary.  Treatment might include drugs, heart bypass surgery or other procedures aimed at restoring proper blood flow.  If you’re very lucky, you may come away with just a prescription for a more heart-healthy diet and active lifestyle.

    In February, the AHA sponsors American Heart Month to educate people about how to have heart-healthy lives and what the risk factors are for developing heart problems. Celebrating its 10th year in 2013, the American Heart Association’s (AHA) “Go Red for Women” campaign has worked to help women and medical professionals understand how heart attack symptoms differ for men and women.

    “The good news is that deaths from cardiovascular disease fell more than 32 percent from 1999 to 2009,” says Pat Cooper, vice president for clinical operations at Quorum Health Resources (QHR).  “And the American Heart Association is predicting that figure will continue to be positively influenced in the future by further declines in smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  However, we face other medical and lifestyle barriers.  These include the projected high rate of diabetes and obesity, and slow progress in improving overall diet and beneficial physical activity.  With about a million heart attacks a year and more than $108 billion in annual spending related to coronary artery disease, the cost of poor heart health to Americans and our society as a whole is very high, both personally and economically.”

    The AHA provides an online tool that lets people assess their 10-year risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary artery disease, along with suggestions for improving that outlook.  To complete the heart attack risk assessment and learn more, go to

    This article provided courtesy of  Appleton Area Health Services and Quorum Health Resources, LLC (“QHR”).

  • Influenza season vigorous, widespread in Minnesota – AAHS encourages residents to get flu shot

    Minnesota experienced an early start to the 2012-13 influenza season and is now seeing vigorous, widespread activity. The first case of influenza confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory was very early this year – in October. In many years, the first confirmed case is not seen until Thanksgiving or early December.

    Typically widespread community transmission is eight to 10 weeks after the first case, which is happening now with this year’s flu season.

    The past several influenza seasons (since 2008 and excluding the pandemic) have been mild so we are not accustomed to seeing higher levels of seasonal influenza activity. The amount and severity of influenza varies from season to season; this year we are having a severe seasonal influenza year, which happens every so often.

    One of the reasons why we are seeing more influenza this year may be because one of the predominant circulating strains is the H3N2 strain of the virus. In years in which H3N2 is the predominant strain, we typically see more severe cases of illness, particularly in the very young and the elderly, and more cases overall.

    “We’re encouraging people to still call in and get their flu shot,” said Janae Olson, Appleton Area Health Services marketing and community relations manager. “We are also asking everyone to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer if you are experiencing flu like symptoms and need to come to our facility, and to wait until symptoms are gone to visit residents in our care center.”

    Since the start of the flu season this year, nearly 600 people have been hospitalized for laboratory-confirmed flu.

    The first flu-related death of the season in Minnesota was a man in his 60s who had underlying health problems. The most recent flu-related death was 14- year-old Carly Christenson, who died last week from the flu at Children’s Hospital. The St. Louis Park high school freshman, who had received a flu shot, was in good health until Christmas Eve, when her parents brought her to the hospital.

    The Minnesota Department of Health officials say the current vaccine is wellmatched to the circulating strains of flu. The vaccine is not 100 percent effective for everyone who gets it, but the Health Department says it is the best defense available against the flu.

    It’s not too late to get a flu shot, and still highly recommend for the very young, the very old and those with compromised immune systems.

    Other ways to prevent the flu include regular hand washing with soap and water or use of an alcoholbased hand sanitizer. Practice
    good “cough hygiene” by coughing into your elbow or a tissue, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

    Children under age 2, adults age 65 and older, people with chronic health conditions, compromised immune systems, and women who are pregnant or have delivered a baby within the last two weeks are at a higher risk for complications. Health officials urge that these people seek medical care for the onset of flu symptoms, so they can be prescribed an anti-viral medication if indicated.

    Unfortunately, it’s not just the flu making people sick. Hospitals and clinics are seeing a spike in bronchitis and other upper respiratory infections.

    Influenza disease can be a gateway for secondary infections; you can have primary influenza pneumonia but more common is a secondary
    bacterial infection causing pneumonia or other complications.

    The best advice is to wash your hands, get plenty of rest, eat right and stay away from those who may be sick.

    What is influenza (flu)?
    Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can be prevented by immunization. It is not the same as the “stomach flu.” Flu is
    caused by a virus that attacks the nose, throat, and lungs and antibiotics are not effective against it. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death.

    What are the symptoms of flu?
    Influenza symptoms come on quickly in the form of fever, dry cough, sore throat, headache, extreme tiredness, stuffed-up nose, and body aches. These symptoms can be severe and put you in bed for several days.

    How is the flu different from a cold?
    A cold generally stays up in the head while the flu brings body aches, fever, and extreme fatigue. A person with a cold will usually keep up his or her normal activities, while someone with the flu will often feel too sick to do so.

    Is the flu vaccine safe?
    Yes. This year’s flu vaccine is made in the same way as past flu vaccines. Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record – with an average of 100 million doses used in the U.S. each year.

    Can you get the flu from the flu shot?
    No. Some people do get mild flu-like symptoms for a short time after being vaccinated, but this is a sign that your body is responding to the vaccine and giving you protection. It is not the flu. Also, because there are many cold viruses cir-

    What if you think you have the flu?

    • Stay home if you are ill.
    • Rest and drink lots of fluids.
    • Antibiotics will not help a person recover from the flu, because flu is caused by a virus, not by bacteria.
    • Children often need help keeping their fever under control. Follow your child’s doctor’s instructions.
    • Take your child to the doctor or the emergency room if he or she:
    • Breathes rapidly or with difficulty
    • Has bluish skin color
    • Does not drink enough and becomes dehydrated
    • Does not wake up or interact with others
    • Is so irritable that he or she doesn’t want to be held, or
    • Gets better only to become sick again, with fever and a more severe cough
    • If you are concerned that something does not seem right with your child, call your doctor or clinic. culating in the fall, it is possible that a person could be infected and become ill at the same time they receive the flu vaccine.


    What can you do to protect yourself and others?

    • Get vaccinated.
    • Avoid being exposed to others who are sick with a flu-like illness.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
    • Clean your hands often – with soap and water, or a hand sanitizer.
    • Take special care to protect infants. Try not to expose them to large crowds when flu is in your community, and avoid close contact between the baby and family members who may be sick.
    • Do not share drinking cups and straws.
    • Clean commonly touched surfaces often (door knobs, refrigerator handles, phones, water faucets).
    • Do not smoke around children.


    Article courtesy of The Appleton Press