BHCI celebrates 50 Years of Caring

Therapy at BHCI is key to wellness, whether to return short-term patients or outpatient  clients back to independence or keep long-term residents moving and active.
Therapy at BHCI is key to wellness, whether to return short-term patients or outpatient clients back to independence or keep long-term residents moving and active.

For 50 years, Benedictine Health Center at Innsbruck has been a valued neighbor in New Brighton. Its growth and outreach mirrors the growth of the community around it — and the tremendous advances in medical care, rehabilitative therapy and services to help people stay healthy and independent.

Following its inception by the Field family, BHCI was purchased by two private firms: Beverly Enterprises in the late 1970s and then Health Dimensions in 1991. Major additions included one with a new nursing area and private rooms in 1991.

In 1999, Benedictine Health System reorganized BHCI as a nonprofit and added spiritual care to its mission. And, in 2005, the current campus took shape with a new short-term care neighborhood and physical and occupational care areas. These are now complemented by an outside mobility challenge courtyard with the stairs, pavers and other elements people need to practice on to regain independence — even a car to build confidence getting in and out.

A spectrum of care

Today's residents at BHCI have the advantages of specialized care for a variety of needs.

Through the Integrative Health and Healing Services provided throughout the community, the Villa, a secure memory-care neighborhood, engages residents with healing music, aromatherapy, comfort massage and special therapies including Loving Hearts Nursery Babies. These amazingly-realistic baby dolls inspire cuddling and rocking, which soothes the residents in turn.

The aviary, aquarium and healing garden provide Villa residents a variety of stimulation, but the scheduling of the same regular employees in the neighborhood also ensures the familiarity and individual attention they need.

The Oak View and Garden Terrace neighborhoods cater to those who need long-term medical care for a variety of complex conditions, but who enjoy BHCI’s rich social life, with communal meals, religious services, off-campus trips and special visitors and events. With physical and occupational therapy, long-term residents are able to improve and preserve quality of life in a home-like setting.

Newest to BHCI are the spacious short-term private suites, where people recover from surgery, regain health after an illness or just boost stamina before returning to independence. With nutritious meals and daily therapy, they often recover more fully and quickly than they would at home.

"We help people regain the health they need to live life to its fullest, wherever they are," administrator and CEO Susan Ager explains.

Outpatient therapies available

Whether people choose short-term residential or outpatient care, BHCI helps coordinate care as they return home, to make sure they're staying safe and strong.

Just a few of the challenges physical and occupational therapy at BHCI have helped resolve: loss of balance, urinary incontinence, speech and swallowing problems, loss of fine motor coordination, gait and stair challenges, low upper-body strength and loss of flexibility in joints. Therapists can also help find the right adaptive equipment for everything from low vision to mobility problems.

Off campus, BHCI offers wellness programs at St. John the Baptist Church in New Brighton, with a network of trained volunteers and a parish nurse.

Of course, as an outreach of the Benedictines, BHCI values faith — and is open to patients, residents and staff of all beliefs. Several denominations hold services for residents in the chapel, lit by stained-glass windows. On campus, Spiritual Care Director Fran O'Connor works full time to coordinate services, memorials and visits to residents to support them in their faith.

That's one of the many reasons BHCI doesn't "feel like" other care centers. The Benedictines' devotion to service and their value of the whole person are visible in every aspect of life at BHCI. "It's our driving force in who we are and what we do," explains Ager.

The Fields’ vision

Dorothy M. Field, first administrator of the family-owned BHCI when it opened in 1965, is described as “vivacious, thorough, tough-minded, fair and compassionate.” Longtime BHCI cook Evelyn Erreich remembers Field as a leader who modeled attention to detail and empathy for residents. “She could walk through looking like a fashion plate on her way to a meeting, but if she saw a resident who needed it, they’d get a hug. She was amazing.”
A half-century later, the promising beginnings Dorothy oversaw have bloomed into top-notch medical care and therapies, all with the individual attention Field championed.

Help celebrate a golden time
The public, families, residents, staff and all those who’ve been touched by BHCI’s mission over the years are invited to visit on these special dates:
• April 15: Bishop Lee Piche will preside over a special Mass and blessing; by invitation only due to space
• May 1: The annual Benedictine Gala pulls out all the stops for the 50th — dinner, music, entertainment, auctions and raffles — for the extra projects and purchases that enrich life at BHCI
• July 15: The Family Picnic, for current families with residents or patients at BHCI, brings loved ones together
• Sept. 12: 50th Anniversary Community Celebration
Have memories, newspaper clippings or photos of BHCI over the years?
Please call Nancy at 651-288-5218 for more information or to share stories!

Benedictine Health Center at Innsbruck
1101 Black Oak Drive | New Brighton, MN 55112 | 651-633-1686


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