Center celebrates four safe years

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

Comforcare Good Samaritan Center is safe.

Residents, workers and visitors can relish this fact.

For the fourth consecutive year, Comforcare has earned an award from the Good Samaritan Society, the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based parent company of the Austin residential care center.

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"Safety is a priority," said Georgette R. Hinkle, administrator. "We can't afford to have a lost-time accident. We need our workers. I'm very proud of our employees. The residents, families, everyone can benefit by this respect for safety."

A new plaque adorns a wall along the entrance way to the care center's front reception desk. It's there for all to see.

"It's really quite an accomplishment in the nursing home industry when you think about it: four years without a loss-time injury or accident," Hinkle said.

Comforcare, located at 205 14th St. NW, is licensed for 45 beds. The facility has 62 full- and part-time employees.

Watsana Thiravong is human resource director. Hinkle is also director of nursing in addition to her administrator duties.

Both say the strict adherence to the A Workplace Accident and Injury reduction offered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been instrumental in the exemplary safety record at Comforcare.

"Safety is an attitude here," Hinkle said. "It is something everyone believes in because it is important to each of us and to the care center."

"It's also teamwork. It's everybody working together toward a common goal," Thiravong added.

The last lost-time accident/injury at Comforcare occurred Nov. 17, 1998.

Hinkle and Thiravong say the care center's employees set their goals for each new year in January. Suggestions on how to improve safety are welcome from anyone: residents and staff.

"When you have a voice in it, you feel you belong," Thiravong said of the inclusiveness of the care center's safety program.

A safety director works with a committee to study how safety in the workplace can be improved.

Now, the goal for Comforcare workers is to improve on perfection: four years worth of it.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at