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A family tradition

Our Lady of Mercy marks 50th anniversary in January

October 28, 2009
The Daily Mining Gazette

HUBBELL - Seventy-one-year-old Joyce Beauchamp says she's never surprised when the nursing staff at Our Lady of Mercy drop by her room for a visit - even on their day off.

"One of the girls brought in fresh eggs from her farm," she said with a bright smile. "They are all so nice and friendly to us here - visiting us on their off hours. If there's anything you need they'll get it."

Located in Hubbell, Our Lady of Mercy Health & Rehab offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services in a small-town, family environment. The 65-bed unit offers on-site physical and occupational therapy, contracted through Aspirus Superior Home Health & Hospice, seven days a week. Speech therapy is also available.

Article Photos

Owner Melvina Dube stands beside two family portraits situated near one of the nurse’s stations. The top portrait is of the facility’s founders, her mother- and father-in-law, Edna and David Dube. The below portrait is of Melvina and her late husband, Ray Dube. The family business will mark its 50th anniversary in January.

"We strive to get people back out into the community as quickly and safely as we can," said Peggy Dressellier, director of nursing. "For those who aren't able, we try to make this as much of a home for them as we can."

One way the staff help to make Our Lady of Mercy feel like home, owner Melvina Dube said, is through "approach."

"We're always making our rounds, asking the residents if they need anything," she said. "It's that face-to-face interaction that is so important."

Our Lady of Mercy has always been family-owned and operated. Melvina's mother-in-law, Edna Dube, opened the facility in 1960. In March of 1970, Melvina and her late husband, Ray Dube, took over ownership. Ray was instrumental in the facility's expansion from its original 26-bed capacity.

Today, Melvina has three children, five grandchildren, a son-in-law and two daughter-in-laws working alongside her.

"So we still are very much a family business," she said."

Melvina's son-in-law, Jerry Schmitt, is the administrator for Our Lady of Mercy. He said they take pride in being a small town facility because it allows them to provide one-on-one care for each resident.

"Therapy is patient-directed," he said, which is important in helping residents achieve their maximum goal so they can return home. "They stay here through the duration of their therapy."

Peggy said their highly-skilled therapy department works well with their nursing staff to provide the level of care needed.

Residents undergoing occupational therapy are working on functional activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting to more advanced activities, such as laundry activities and meal preparation, explained occupational therapist Amy Carter.

Occupational therapy may also work on upper extremity range of motion, strengthening, endurance, and coordination to improve a patient's performance of functional activities.

Physical therapy treatment focuses on improving and fine-tuning mobility skills such as walking, transfers and bed mobility through functional strengthening, balance, coordination and endurance exercises. Therapists work with residents and their families to develop treatment plans that meet residents' individual needs.

In addition to 24-hour nursing care and rehabilitation services, Our Lady of Mercy offers on-site: on-call administrative nurses, dental services, hospice care, pharmacy services, religious services for all denominations, barber and beauty shop services, among others.

The staff encourages residents to participate in day to day events held at the facility.

Melvina's granddaughter, Kathy Andresen, who is the activities/social director, keeps a full slate of activities on the calendar month to month.

"We bring in a lot of local talent from live music to storytelling," she said. "We've got a lot of nice people and community groups who come in and volunteer their time to entertain the residents."

Residents particularly enjoy the holiday parties, Kathy said, and they're looking forward to one this week.

"We have costumes for the residents to wear at our Halloween party," she said, adding the residents will also be passing out candy to trick-or-treaters this weekend. "It's a lot of fun for them. They really enjoy it."

Our Lady of Mercy offers both private and shared rooms for residents. Walking through the hallway of each wing, visitors will find each of the rooms unique. Photos of family and friends dress up the walls and decorate the shelves of their living area. Cozy bedspreads and furnishings add a soft, comforting and personalized touch.

"Every room has it's own personality," Kathy said, adding the residents are welcome to bring in their own furnishings and linens. "They all have their own way of making their room their own."

Resident council meetings are held monthly and allow for the residents to voice any concerns, good or bad, relating to their living arrangement.

"This is their home so we want to be aware of any concerns they have," Kathy said.

All household services such as laundry, cleaning and cooking, are provided on site.

In addition, the facility's transportation system is available to transport residents to and from medical appointments, Jerry said. They also use the buses for casino outings, color tours and other field trips.

"They just love it," he said.

Historic photographs adorn the walls in the dining area. Acquired from the Michigan Tech Archives, Kathy said the photos make fun starting points for storytelling.

Eighty-eight-year-old Gwen Kuivinen, who was in the dining area crafting Halloween cards, said she enjoys the historical events stories, and is a fan of the country western musicians who drop in on occasion.

"Between arts and crafts, bible classes, the weekend newspaper reading and listening to musicians, there's hardly enough time to spend in my room," she said. "There's always something to do."

One-hundred-and-two-year-old Mary Altman said she enjoys the variety of activities as much as she enjoys her daily walks in the hallway.

"But I wait until the residents are sleeping so the traffic is not as heavy," she said.

This January, Our Lady of Mercy will mark its 50th year in business. In that time, Melvina said she's seen many changes in the health care industry but one thing has remained the same at Our Lady of Mercy.

"I know my residents are getting the best of care," she said. "My staff truly cares for the residents and get involved in what their interests are."

For more information, call Our Lady of Mercy Health & Rehab at 296-3301.

Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Our Lady of Mercy Health & Rehab of Hubbell. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.



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