Specialty care workers live legacy of Good Samaritan Society

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Providing unique services – it’s what Good Samaritan Society – Specialty Care in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, has been doing faithfully for decades.

“We’ve just always been a mix of all kinds of things. ‘Specialty’ kind of summed it up, that we’re specializing in whatever. I’d say love,” nursing supervisor Gwen Johnson, RN-BC, says.

Gwen is coming up on 42 years of loving residents, many in long-term care with Huntington’s disease.

“If you’re not going to care, you’re not going to last here long,” Gwen says. “People will say it’s like having Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS all in one except they really don’t have dementia like they don’t forget things. They have cognitive decline.”

Inclined to make a difference, Gwen has been filling a need in the Huntington’s unit since 1996. Before that, she helped residents going through alcohol and drug treatment. “Who’s going to take care of Huntington’s? They fall. They have behaviors. (Others say) yeah, we can’t manage that. Well, we can. A lot of times it’s about getting to know somebody and who they are. Is that Huntington’s or? Don’t worry about the disease all the time. Take care of the person,” Gwen says.