Health systems partner to make senior communities safe

Sanford Health and Good Samaritan Society are working together to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to some independent living residents in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“We are a team. We are a family,” says Sharlene Thompson, Sanford Health director of patient access.

Sharlene and her staff enjoy checking people in during the vaccination process.

“The reason that we three love doing this is because it is so positive,” Charlene says.

Delivering the vaccine at The Lodge at Good Samaritan Society – Prairie Creek is Sanford Health registered nurse Lisa Lemon.

“I’ve worked a lot with the (Sanford Health) Imagenetics site. I’ve been to some of our outreach sites out of town and now here at Good Sam,” Lisa says.

She loves the opportunity to make a difference.

“Amazing. This is just life changing hope and I’m so glad to be a part of it,” Lisa says. “Regardless of where we’re located or where we work, we’re here to help the community and help those to hopefully fight this pandemic."

Protecting Society residents

Army veteran Edward Peters and his wife Charlotte are excited to be receiving the vaccine. The two have been married for nearly 70 years and enjoy every minute at the Society.

“The friendship and the fellowship. The quality of care. Quality of the food. It’s just a very good place to be,” Edward says.

Marlene Marquesen says it’s a community full of wonderful people.

“Some people say it’s like Utopia,” Marlene says. “You walk down the halls and everybody says hi, hi, hi. That’s what we do."

Now, it’s a bit different with masks and social distancing.

Remembering the past

Marlene says it reminds her of the polio outbreak when she was a kid. Activities in Sioux Falls were shut down, even the pools.

“They were all closed. We only had two. Drake Springs and Terrace Park I think were the only two pools. We could not go swimming," Marlene says. "Couldn’t go to a movie. We were basically told to stay home and we did because we were so fearful."

This year, she’s following facts and rolling up her sleeve.

“I hope that when the time comes for everyone to get it, that they won’t balk at the fact of getting it because they might get sick,” Marlene says.

For those ready for the vaccine, Lisa and her colleagues will be there to get the job done.

“Very thankful that we have the vaccine and we’re able to vaccinate our population,” Lisa says.

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