SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living recently awarded 10 South Dakota locations with a Bronze commitment to quality award. Seven of those were part of the Good Samaritan Society. In tonight’s Your Money Matters, what this recognition means in a time of deep demand for assisted living and long term care.

“In Sioux Falls, most of us have a waiting list and stay relatively full,” Alecia O’Neill, Good Sam’s Administrator for Senior Living for the Sioux Falls area said.

Many assisted living facilities across the city have a year-long wait to get in, but finding the right place for your aging loved one to call home still means plenty of tours.

“A lot of people are looking for a place that feels like home, when you ask what made you choose us, a lot of it is the people they’re interacting with,” O’Neill said.

In a time when staffing is a challenge for every industry across the state, the Good Samaritan Society is thrilled about the announcement of bronze awards at seven South Dakota locations.

“This award is a testament to our staff and them going above and beyond for our residents to make sure they’re safe and happy and are healthy,” Heather Herlyn, the director of Quality and Safety for Good Sam said.

Herlyn says the awards are based on quality improvements in leadership, operations, planning, workforce and more, all key areas that mean better care for residents.

“When you do all of those things really well…we typically see better outcomes in quality performance indicators such as fewer hospital readmissions, fewer falls in their facilities and they have lower staff turnover,” Herlyn said.

“These awards kind of help to designate those that are striving to keep that bar going for themselves and striving to keep being the best,” O’Neill said. 

Even in a time when demand for open spaces is so high, administrators say these awards show how much their staff are committed to continually improving care for all of their residents.

“Long term care is a special calling, it’s different from any other calling in that these residents inspire us and they become our family,” Herlyn said.

Only 400 locations who went through the application process across the country received the Bronze National Quality Award this year and can now move onto the Silver award level.