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News & Notes - March 2024

Melissa Cassuci-Christensen RN Staff Educator

Who We Are


Shining a light on an individual or a group significantly impacting life at Lutheran Care Center. 


Spotlight on

Melissa Cassuci-Christensen, RN Staff Educator

The Lutheran Care Center staff is the heart of who we are, and you will frequently hear them say, “Care is our middle name.”   It’s our staff who lives that motto, and  there’s no better example than Melissa Cassuci-Christensen.   Melissa embraced skilled nursing as a career, beginning at LCC as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) in 2009.  Two years later she was certified as a Licensed Practical Nurse  (LPN) and worked as a staff nurse until 2017.

The birth of her second child prompted her to step back and explore life as a stay-at-home
mom. Melissa eventually decided, “that was not for me.  I’m too much of a Go-Go-Go-person.”  She used her boundless energy to pursue studies toward an RN degree and returned to LCC as Staff Educator in 2022. Having recently passed her licensing exams, she is now fully invested in bringing the latest educational in-service training to the LCC staff.

For instance, Melissa keeps the nursing staff current on our hospice partnerships, quality of life pursuits, trauma-informed care, infection control, and identification of pain in our cognitively impaired residents, including options for non-p
harmacological interventions for management of that pain.

Ongoing education is provided across all disciplines, supporting our almost 200 employees.  Dietary staff receives training on the preparation of diabetic, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets for residents with specialized needs.   The Environmental Services staff is kept current on the most effective environmental cleaning and disinfection products and methods for infection control and covid protocols to promote better resident outcomes.

Our Resident Care Assistants (RCAs), a recently re-instituted position, support the work of the licensed nurses and CNAs on each unit by providing extra sets of eyes and hands.  Their assignments include making beds, transporting residents to activities, filling
water pitchers, and most importantly, observing for and redirecting “restless” residents.   Perhaps most beneficial is the extra time they take to interact with residents with a big smile, a chat and a snack, or to assist them with a special request.

Growing Strong Roots is an innovative program Melissa developed to identify our “seasoned” CNAs and provide them with specific skills to mentor our new CNAs.  Mentors proudly sport attractive jackets identifying them as a resource for their new colleagues in need of some additional support, ensuring a smooth transition to LCC life.

Melissa is quick to credit Quality of Life Specialist, Barbara Speedling, for encouraging staff to think differently by focusing on how residents actually feel.  She asks the question, “How would I feel if I lived here, slept in that bed, used that bathroom?” It’s a different perspective. Our residents aren’t just a name…they are  valued human beings.”

Following her parental leave, Melissa had many options, so why did she return?  “LCC has always been my family away from family.  When I worked directly with the residents, it was only natural to become attached to them and their families.  I’ll always value my CNA roots where I was able to take some extra time to curl a resident’s hair or polish their nails so they would feel special on Mother’s Day, particularly when their loved one couldn’t be here to do it.”

Melissa clearly has a heart for residents and a desire to empower staff in ways that will allow our residents to live the best life they can while calling Lutheran Care Center home.    For that, we are unceasingly grateful!

Pat Ludington, LCC Administrator shared, “the staff trusts her and her expertise.   She has an excellent communication style and rapport with staff and is highly motivated and dedicated.  She is flexible in whatever our needs are, including serving as a staff supervisor.  Melissa is definitely an asset here!”

Poison Prevention Week

Health and Wellness Tips

National Poison Prevention Week
from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) 

National Poison Prevention Week raises awareness of poison prevention nationwide during the third full week of March every year. It is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of poisonings for people of all ages and promote community involvement in poisoning prevention.

Follow these basic steps at the first sign of a poisoning

If the person inhaled poison

Get to fresh air right away. Call the toll-free Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center.

If the person has poison on the skin

Take off any clothing the poison touched. Rinse skin with running water for 15 to 20 minutes. Call the toll-free Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center.
If the person has poison in the eyes

Rinse eyes with running water for 15 to 20 minutes. Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center.

In some cases, you should not try to give first aid.

If the person swallowed the wrong medicine or too much medicine: Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center.

Upcoming Events

Clavinova Keyboard Dedication

Friday, April 26, 2024 at 2pm

in the Chapel

We are grateful for the generosity of Leora Wagliardi for the beautiful music coming from our new Yamaha Clavinova during worship services. The new electronic keyboard will be dedicated during the weekly Friday worship service…all are welcome!

Tree Planting Ceremony

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 2:30pm

near the front entrance

Three red maple trees have been donated in honor of our 25th Anniversary Honorees:  Michael Kaminiski, President and CEO of Hudson Valley Hospice and Hudson Valley Hospice Foundation, and The Rev. John Backes of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. Both men have made valuable contributions to Dutchess County and to Lutheran Care Center. Join us in honoring them as we dedicate these trees for all to enjoy. Refreshments to follow.

Spring Chime Concert

Friday, May 31, 2024 at 2pm

in the Living Room

The Resident Chime Choir looks forward to presenting its selection of songs to friends and family.  Always an uplifting experience…please join us!

We are in this together!

 As a non-profit, contributions truly impact how we provide creative, professional care. Our residents and staff appreciate the difference donor gifts make.
Please consider a gift today. Click here to donate online (you may designate your gift in honor or memory of someone) or mail it to: Patricia Ludington, Administrator, Lutheran Care Center, 965 Dutchess Turnpike, Poughkeepsie, NY  12603.
We are grateful!

Thrivent members, please direct your Choice Dollars before March 31st. After logging in, choose The Lutheran Care Network, Scarsdale, NY. Your gift will be credited to Lutheran Care Center, Poughkeepsie.
Non-Thrivent members may also donate here under "Make a personal donation". Thrivent will pay the processing fee so your entire donation goes to this cause.
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965 Dutchess Turnpike | Poughkeepsie, NY | 12603 US

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