The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Senior care new models

Lyngblomsten Care Center in St. Paul, Minn., another of the ELCA-affiliated social ministries, also is moving away from this country's medical-model nursing home to a residential concept where seniors live in their own apartments and determine their daily schedules.

"Nursing homes inherited the medical model from hospitals 30 years ago and have been struggling with it ever since," says Paul Mikelson, Lyngblomsten president/CEO. "It's about time we acknowledge that it hasn't been a good fit and try something else."

The new model, Lyngblomsten Service House, creates a supportive, residential environment so dependent seniors receive only the medical care they need. "Service House clients are treated as people who need help rather than as patients to be cured, eliminating the need for the medical environment," says Janet Anderson, program director.

By eliminating the organizational complexity of a nursing home, "we are able to provide services at a lower cost," Mikelson says.

The program provides clients an apartment with a kitchenette, full bath and living space--rather than a hospital-like room. Common living areas provide opportunities for social life and a place for a daily family-style meal.

The house developed because of an exchange program begun in 1993 with Sörg°arden in Rottne, Sweden. Over the last 15 years, Sweden has converted most of its medical-model nursing homes into the service house system.

Lyngblomsten's ministry includes a parish nurse program, home health services and senior health assessments. It serves in partnership with 30 St. Paul congregations.


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