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Updated: Mar 16, 2023

LK Class 31 started the day at Brookestone Gardens in Soutwest Kearney. The beautiful facility provides a spectrum of care from independent living all the way to skilled nursing. We had multiple panelists that covered topics from home health, hospice, and non-Medicare in-home services. One common thread among our panelists was they are all facing staffing issues. With the silver tsunami expected with baby boomers aging, there will continue to be a need for healthcare workers. Two actionable takeaways from this were a program called Five Wishes which is an advanced directive for loved ones and also Nokbox which is an estate planning & organization kit. We also had a panel with leaders from Compass, Collage, and the Safe Center. Each gave an informative history about their respective programs and how they help meet the needs of the Kearney community.

Next, we went to KRMC for a tour. We got to see the newly remodeled ER, the heli-pad, and the morgue. We learned about each of the respective areas in-depth including responsibilities, challenges, and how they fit into the spectrum of healthcare KRMC provides. One interesting statistic was KRMC currently has 39 traveling nurses. This has been an ongoing challenge since COVID as traveler’s can make up to 3x what a non-traveler can expect to make. They also noted that among their employees they have discovered there is a transportation and housing shortage in Kearney. Following the tour our next discussion panel focused on behavioral health & patient placement. We learned about the challenges associated with providing that type of care and how those clinics function.

Our final tours were to the Family Advocacy Network (FAN) and Horner Lieske McBride funeral mortuary. The FAN staff explained how they work within the community to provide services and protection to children in very difficult situations. They also informed us of their new building which they will be moving into soon which will provide them with greater space to provide their services. The mortuary tour gave us a greater understanding of how they work to support the community and families with end-of-life services.

By David Mickelson

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