Published On: Thu, Nov 14th, 2013

Hillcrest Care Center notes anniversary of first nursing home here

LAUREL — Hillcrest Care Center marked an important anniversary last week.

Blanche and Arnold Sauser started working toward their goal of putting a nursing home in Laurel back  in 1962.

A facility for 16 residents was built onto their home on the west hill of Laurel and was called the Sauser Home. The grand opening was held Nov. 1, 1963. In 1970, the Sauser Home expanded into a 21-bed facility.

Blanche Sauser operated the home with assistance from her daughter and husband, Marcia and Eldon Haisch.

The need to update and expand the facility was realized by Blanche, her family, local pharmacist, Dave Felber, and the city of Laurel.

Construction of a new facility was put into action and Hillcrest Care Center was opened Nov. 1, 1978 with the residents and staff transferring from the Sauser Home.

Hillcrest Care Center was licensed as a skilled nursing facility in 1998. The opportunity to expand again came with the conversion of 10-nursing facility beds into assisted living beds.

The attached assisted living unit was built in 2001 and licensed for 16 beds. Change came again in 2012 when a therapy room was remodeled and a Medicare suite was established. Hillcrest Care Center is now licensed for 36 skilled beds.

Two staff members, JoAnn Rathgeber LPN, and Sharon Jones were employed at the Sauser Home and remain employed at Hillcrest Care Center today.

JoAnn is the MDS Coordinator and Sharon is a Medication Aid in the Assisted Living.

Vee Lage, Medication Aid and Medical Records Coordinator, has been employed at Hillcrest Care Center along with Sharon and JoAnn for 35 years.

Dr. Dave Felber was Hillcrest Care Center’s Medical Director for many years and was very supportive in the vision of a new nursing home in the 1970’s.

He provided guidance through all of the changes that helped provide quality nursing care to the residents.

Hillcrest Care Center prepares Meals-on-Wheels for the residents of the community when needed and meals are delivered by volunteers from the local churches.

The Hillcrest Board of Trustees is a seven member board appointed by the City Council of Laurel. They provide oversight and independent review of the financial functions of the facility.

The Hillcrest Auxiliary has been supportive of the facility throughout the years. They have had many fundraisers and helped purchase needed equipment that benefits residents care. The Auxiliary has also hosted many activities for the residents.

The local Ministerial Association provides weekly worship services with pastors or lay people leading the service. The advancement of technology allows the service in the churches to be on DVD’s or CD’s and residents may watch or listen to the service in the facility. Local church groups, neighborhood clubs, community organizations and individuals assist with activities and provide entertainment for the residents. These volunteers are greatly appreciated for all their time and dedication.

Providence Therapy Clinical in Laurel and Wayne provides speech, occupational and physical therapy to the residents. Jan Harrison WOCRN provides consultation and services for wounds, ostomies, and continence. The Laurel and Wayne Mercy Medical Clinic physicians provide medical care to our residents. Dr. Sam Recob is the Medical Director overseeing the policies and procedures of resident care. Hospice services are offered from Providence Medical Center of Wayne when needed. Mark Patefield, Registered Pharmacist, is the consulting pharmacist who reviews all resident medications monthly for diagnosis and appropriate use. Tama Krause, Registered Dietitian, provides dietary consultation monthly to ensure residents are receiving proper nutritional care.