The Social Services department at Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital has a profound effect on patients and their family members. The goal of the department is to assure the patient is provided with needed services while in the hospital and then to assist them to access available services they will need when returning to the community. This provides a discharge that is safe and as worry free as possible.
With the advent of “swing beds” at Avera St. Anthony's Hospital discharge planning has gained importance for these patients who often need services such as meals on wheels, outpatient services like physical, occupational, speech therapy, or cardiac rehab, durable medical equipment and in home help.
A close relationship is fostered between Social Services, Medical Staff, Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy, Home Health, Dietary and Nursing Services to assure that a team effort provides the best outcome possible for those we serve.
Social Services Staff
Brenda Halstead, LCSW, MPA has been employed with Avera St. Anthony's Hospital since July of 1998 as Director of Social Services. During that time transportation and the Faith In Action O’Neill Community Volunteer Program have been developed and implemented and many changes have been made to the discharge planning process.
Lenone Koenig, BSW was hired in April of 2005 as Volunteer Coordinator for the Faith In Action O’Neill Community Volunteer Program and to further develop the in house volunteer program. She will also assist with the community-based programs delivered through the Social Services Department.
Public Transportation - The transportation service is staffed by a full time dispatcher and six part time and casual drivers who operate the hospital vehicles providing transportation to elderly and disabled persons in our community as well as to the general public as time and scheduling allow.
Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital transportation service has been in operation since July of 2000 through the hospital Social Services Department.
In 2011 the service provided approximately 9400 rides in town and 1200 across the state of Nebraska, covering some 15, 400 miles in O’Neill and 29,000 miles out of town to serve over 2,400 elderly persons, 1000 disabled persons and 2900 general public.
The service is provided on demand with elderly and disabled persons given preference, but anyone can use the service as scheduling allows. Scheduling ahead as much as possible is strongly encouraged but most of the time trips can be added throughout the day in town. Out of town trips should be scheduled as far in advance as possible as we schedule drivers for those trips from our on call group.
Our fleet includes a 2011 Dodge Caravan which is wheelchair accessible, a twelve passenger Chevrolet bus which can accommodate two wheelchairs and a seven passenger 2008 Chevrolet Uplander which is not wheelchair accessible.
A full time dispatcher schedules rides and six part time drivers provide courteous, helpful and safe in town transportation Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. and out of town as scheduled. We can provide transportation to anywhere in the state of Nebraska but are not able to provide service out of state.
Ride scheduling is done through the dispatcher at the hospital through a direct dial number (402) 336-5134. Questions and concerns can also be directed to Brenda Halstead, Director of Social Services at (402) 336-5156.
Volunteers - Volunteer services are administered through the Social Service Department at Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital. An average of 20 volunteers take turns on most weekdays in the outpatient clinics to help patients sign in and get to their appointments with specialists. They assist with the Siouxland Blood Mobile on a monthly basis and at special hospital events as needed.
In January of 2005 the Faith In Action O’Neill Community Volunteer Program partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was started at Avera St. Anthony's Hospital to provide volunteer services to the community including friendly visitor, chore services and respite for caregivers. At present seven volunteers provide services to 10 people in the community who have no family or friends nearby to assist them.
Lenone Koenig serves as coordinator for the volunteer program and started on April 1, 2005. She also works with the in house volunteer program. For more information, to volunteer, or to seek volunteer services see “Volunteer Program” under Services on the Avera St. Anthony's Hospital website, or call Lenone at 402-336-5285.