Friends & Family Caring for Others at Greene County Medical Center’s Extended Care

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Connie Neese and Family

JEFFERSON, Iowa – Connie Neese spent her entire life as a caregiver, first to her family and then as a nurse. After everything she has seen and done, she often points to the many ways the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives.

A recent example resulted from the anticipation of a new great grandchild in July. In preparation, the baby’s father, Max, was keeping an eye out for a family vehicle. He found an option online and arranged to look at it. The vehicle owner recognized the last name and asked Max if he knew Connie. When he replied she is his grandmother, tears formed in the man’s eyes and he said, “She saved my life.” He explained he was a nurse in the 1980s, but he had a bit of a past. Connie took a chance, hiring him for a job at Woodward State Hospital.

Daughter-in-law, Kate Neese, said Connie is now also seeing the Holy Spirit at work through the care she receives as a patient in the Extended Care program at Greene County Medical Center. “It’s full circle because she was always the caregiver, and now she is getting good care because she gave good care. What she was putting out there, she is now getting back.”

Connie has always been a vibrant, active woman. She worked her way up to head of the nursing department at Woodward State Hospital while also covering shifts at Greene County Medical Center on nights and weekends. Her big heart and strong work ethic were evident as she raised five kids, worked on the farm and took in her stepsiblings to raise; all while studying to be or working as a nurse.

Now 87, Connie retired from nursing about 20 years ago following a motorcycle accident in which she and her late husband, Dale, sustained serious injuries requiring both to spend a couple of months in skilled care at Greene County Medical Center. After Dale passed away, Connie moved into the senior independent living facility, Ever Greene Ridge. Her health changed during COVID, however, and she chose to be a resident with Greene County Medical Center’s long-term care. “When long-term closed, we were fortunate enough to keep her in extended swing through the medical center’s Extended Care program,” Kate said.

The entire family not only has peace of mind knowing Connie is extremely well cared for, they are grateful to the dedicated Team Members who make Extended Care her home. “She just gets wonderful care, Kate said. “Her hair is curled, her nails are painted and the staff is always looking out for her. One day they called and said Connie was feeling a little down. I came out during lunchtime and we ate in the beautiful windowed room and visited. I took her back to her room, and as I was walking away, I wasn’t listening, but I just heard them ask if she was feeling better now that I was there. When people don’t know they’re being listened to and their having a private conversation, you easily find out they are a truly caring person.”

Kate added the staff reaches out to Connie’s grandchildren when she is having a good day so they can FaceTime, and it is the little things making a huge difference in defining quality of care. For Connie’s son Alan, Kate and all her other children and grandchildren, the most important thing is that Connie is happy in a warm, inviting place she calls home.

“It’s hard on families to see parents fail,” Kate said. “But if you are in this situation, this is a great place to be and you don’t have to worry. She is in her community, so her friends can still come see her, and it really is friends and family caring for her. Thank you for taking such good care of her. Because of you, she is thriving.”

For more information on Greene County Medical Center’s Extended Care program, call 515-386-0638.