Why We Exist

Back in the 80's Mary Anne recognized that the hospital/nursing home model of care is actually inappropriate for most individuals requiring long-term care. The institutional clinical environment may be necessary for a few, but most of us become stressed and anxious after only a few days of hospitalization. The lack of sleep from the noise and lights, the institutional food, lack of privacy and most importantly the loss of control and self image rapidly destroy our sense of purpose and well being. It is not uncommon to enter the hospital due to a crisis of some sort, be transferred to a nursing home with the best of intentions of soon returning home and then slowly lose purpose until there is no joy left inside. Scripture states that without a sense of purpose or inner vision the soul dries up and we die inside. In general, long-term institutional care destroys the soul. There must be options for long-term care. While families desire to care for their elders in their own homes very few of us have the skills or personality required to daily minister to our loved ones. Often the stress and burn out lead to a joyless life for the caregiver and inappropriate care for the loved one.   

By the late 80's Mary Anne knew that her calling was to care for long-term hospitalized/institutionalized children in our home. Mel was not quite as sure. We were busy raising our own children and the demands of changing our own home into a long-term care setting was overwhelming. He slowly relented and in 1993 built a new home on Dayton Lake in Fergus Falls designed to care for medically complex children.

This was an amazing experience for eight years as we transitioned to 24/7 RN staff in our home and in our space. The loss of privacy was a constant irritant, but the success of the children that we cared for was overwhelming. Children with a prognosis of months to live prospered and grew stronger. They went from low responsive fearful institutionalized children into out going confident kids. The complex medical and nursing needs remained, but the kids were (and are) living life to the maximum potential. In the midst of this we learned that intensive care pediatric nursing could be provided not only in a hospital, but in a home. Thanks to a supportive nursing organization and with God on our side we succeeded.

In 2000 we adopted Melissa and realized that caring for one child with 24/7 parenting and nursing care was enough. No more children were on the immediate horizon but the desire to care for individuals in a family setting continued to grow. After much research we chose to care not only for our daughter, but women with medical concerns as well. By October 2001 Mel had "retired" and we had made the initial remodeling to allow for adult care in addition to child care. We both have had experience as nurses with complex medical issues, but especially enjoy working with women and children afflicted with various complex medical conditions. Hmm.. sounds depressing... not really.  It seems as though we are especially gifted in this area and with the gifting came the grace to not only tolerate but enjoy overcoming the problems that these diseases produce. James 1:27 states that God the Father considers pure and genuine religion to be caring for orphans and widows in their suffering. How fortunate we are to be able to not only work with widows and orphans who are ill or disabled, but to actually enjoy this calling.

By 2006 it became clear that caring for individuals with complex medical needs also requires a specialized home as well as the resources of a skilled and caring staff. By sharing staff between all of the individuals in our home we are able to care for up to five people with only a rare bout of burn out. Thank you team! The need of a larger home with more available resources was finally met with a major remodeling in 2006-2007. Who ever thought that these empty nesters would need nine bedrooms and 6,500 sq feet of space to live a comfortable and productive life?

Well, that is the short story of how Hospitality House on Dayton Lake has become the preferred model of "Nursing Home" care here in Otter Tail County. If you want to learn more about our work and ministry give us a call or make an appointment for a visit. We look forward to serving you.

Hospitality House on Dayton Lake is a nursing home alternative for women located in Fergus Falls Otter Tail County Minnesota. We provide care similar to a institutional nursing home at all levels from A through K, but we do this not in an institutional setting, but rather in a loving home. There are many similarities to adult foster care, assisted living, board and care with services, and normal homes plus programs, but we consider our home to be a family. Why be confined to an institution when you could be living in a beautiful Minnesota lake home with friends?