By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
LACOMBE – The staff at the Lacombe Nursing Centre believes that when it comes to skilled rehabilitation services you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best.
The Lacombe Nursing Centre has been operating from its location on Main Street since 1966 and has developed a program called “Caring Steps to Home” that they believe is one of the best for the many patients now using such facilities for their rehabilitation services.
Gwen Aucoin, who started working at the Lacombe Nursing Centre in 1973 and was named administrator in 1997, said the 98-bed facility accepts those who need classic nursing home care and also specializes in rehab services. The “Caring Steps to Home” program is a comprehensive system to address every need a patient has after having surgery, being involved in an accident, recovering from an infection or other situations that need rehab care.
Aucoin quickly points to her lead staff as a top reason she is confident their facility is second to none. Lisa Frederick is Director of Nursing and has been there for 23 years, while Sheila Smith is the Assistant Director of Nursing and has been there since 1988, bringing over 40 years of nursing experience to the patients there.
“One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that for every day you have to lie in bed from an accident, injury or sickness it takes three days to get your body back in the physical condition it was previously,” Frederick said.
“That’s why the rehabilitation system is so important,” she said. “Just think about being in bed for several days with the flu—it takes you a while to feel back to normal even once you are up and about.”
She adds that “the older you get the harder it gets to maintain that flexibility, your ability to move around normally and all the functions you need in your daily life. So being bed-bound from an accident or illness really needs skilled rehab.”
Frederick is a Board Certified Gerontologist and Smith is Infection Control Certified, adding one more layer to the expertise offered at the Lacombe Nursing Home.
“The one thing that is actually an advantage for our patients since we are a little smaller than some other nursing homes is that we can give every patient more personal attention and we have created a family atmosphere here,” Smith said. “We truly approach our work wanting to give the gift of love every day.”
The “Caring Steps to Home” rehabilitation program has five key areas it focuses on: Self-care and safety, transferring (such as car to standing, bed to standing), exercise and energy conservation, problem solving, standing and stability.
“Our programs offer physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as individualized therapy,” Aucoin added. “These are physician directed services that will expedite your transition to home.”
But with that said, Frederick said that no one is sent home until they are positively ready.
“Our ‘Caring Steps to Home” program helps in every area to get you ready to go home after rehab,” she said. “We want you to be successful when you get home. If you aren’t ready you may end up having another accident or falling and then you are right back here. Our program helps ensure that shouldn’t happen.”
The Lacombe Nursing Home also has access to a Nurse Practitioner for acute needs, a registered dietician and even a dentist.
“With the extra services we provide it helps the patients focus on getting better,” Aucoin said.
For every patient that comes to the Lacombe Nursing Home they are immediately assigned a case manager who tracks their progress and reports on it at the daily family meetings. And Aucoin said that one of the best ways to know they are doing a good job is that they have had numerous referrals.
“People who go through rehab are not shy to talk about their experience and we have very high ratings, and when needed, we have seen repeat patients who might have had another accident or illness years later,” she stated. “Our three leading staff people here have over 100 years of experience together for this kind of work and that’s really important in the outstanding care we provide.”
For those who need nursing home care in general the facility offers a long list of events and activities to make someone as happy and comfortable as possible. They also take Alzheimer’s patients and those with other forms of dementia.
To get more information on the Lacombe Nursing Home and its 24/7 services, or for a tour of the facility, contact them at 985-882-5417. They are located at 28119 Hwy. 190 in the heart of Lacombe’s main road through the town.