Safe Care: Meet the Buddies Forever Champions at Minnesota Veteran’s Home - Luverne

Teamwork makes the dream work. At the Minnesota Veteran’s Home in Luverne, there is a team of dedicated safety and quality champions that are making a positive difference in the health and wellness of the veterans they serve. Meet the Buddies Forever Champions, our latest recipient of the Make Zero Harm Possible award in our Safe Care for Seniors program.  

The award recognizes staff in aging services settings who demonstrate their commitment to safe, quality care and to treating the people they serve with respect and dignity – always. The Buddies Forever Champions are: Awanda Bowen, Cook; Melanie Edwards, Human Services Technician; Meagan Meyer, Human Services Technician; Michaela Reitsma, Physical Therapy Assistant; Lindsey Tommeraasen, Life Enrichment Coordinator; and Amanda Walker, RN.

“As their name indicates, the Buddies Forever Champions are partners and advocates for safe, quality care,” said Gayle Kvenvold, President and CEO, LeadingAge Minnesota.

The Minnesota Veteran’s Home in Luverne has been on a comprehensive journey for the past few years to improve its programming and environment for veterans with dementia. Shortly after taking the Safe Care for Seniors pledge in 2019, they focused their work on staff education around urgent and expected situations such as the need to act quickly if a resident is at risk for falling or if a resident is at the door insistent upon leaving to return to their own home.

uke Schryvers, Administrator at the Minnesota Veteran’s Home – Luverne, said their Buddies Forever Champions developed a training program in collaboration with Gemini Consulting to coach staff on key techniques that can be used to de-escalate these urgent situations. The hands-on class consists of teaching staff skills such as “Getting Down Below Eye Level”, “Establishing Eye Contact First”, “Using Facial Expressions that Sparkle,” and “Simple Statements” during urgent situations.

“The students in this class get to experience what it feels like to be the resident in these situations, learn new skills, and practice the skills with feedback from trained coaches,” said Luke Schryvers. “This class has been very successful and received well by our staff. We will continue to use it to further improve resident handling, reducing falls, reducing resident behaviors that affects others, and to successfully de-escalate urgent situations to keep our residents and staff safe.”

The Make Zero Harm Possible award is one component of LeadingAge Minnesota’s Safe Care for Seniors. To see who has received the Make Zero Harm Possible award or to nominate someone, visit Make Zero Harm Possible.

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