Join us for Trees of Light celebration Wednesday, December 9

Community members who are honoring or remembering family and friends who hold a special place in their hearts during this holiday season are invited to the Winona Health Foundation’s Trees of Light gathering on Wednesday, December 9 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the clinic lobby at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Ave.

Attendees are invited to enjoy music, refreshments, visit with friends, view the trees and take home the ornaments tagged with their honorees’ name.

“We are grateful for our generous community members who choose to honor friends and family members through the Trees of Light,” said Betsy Midthun, VP of community engagement at Winona Health. “It’s a thoughtful reminder of those who are important to us or those who will always be remembered, and it’s a meaningful way to support community healthcare.”

Those who gave are welcome to find their ornaments on the trees and take them home during the event on December 9 or anytime during clinic hours after December 9. The campaign continues until January 1.

Gifts to the Trees of Light campaign may be made online, by mail or in person at the Foundation office on the first floor of the hospital at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Avenue, Winona, 55987.

For more information, contact the Winona Health Foundation at 507.474.3328 or click here.



Fantasy of Trees winners announced

First Place: Say Yes to the Dress

First Place: Say Yes to the Dress

The Winona Health Fantasy of Trees committee gives thanks to all businesses, organizations and individuals who donated a beautifully decorated holiday tree for silent auction.

Approximately 80 trees and a roomful of festive holiday wreaths and center pieces contributed to a successful 2015 Fantasy of Trees event. Proceeds from this year’s event go toward Healthcare Scholarships and updating Transitional Care Unit rooms at Lake Winona Manor.

Trees are on display and open for bids at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Avenue in Winona on the first and second-floor of the clinic until Saturday, November 21 at 11 a.m.

Below is the list of the award-winning trees. Congratulations to everyone who won and thank you to all who contributed. The Winona Health Auxiliary Fantasy of Trees committee appreciates all who supported this year’s event.

First Place: Say Yes to the Dress

Second Place: Candy Land

Second Place: Candy Land

Designers: Winona Health General Surgery, Cancer Care, Dermatology, Plastics and Cosmetics.

Second Place: Candy Land

Designers: Winona Health Food and Nutrition

Third Place: Warm and Cozy Homespun Christmas

Designers: Winona Health Occupational Health

Honorable Mention:

Lucky You by Winona Health Lake Winona Manor

Winters Frosty Night by Flowers on Broadway

May the Force be with You by Winona Health Pediatrics

Tranquility by Winona Health Assisted Living

Vintage Memories by Flowers on Broadway


Third Place: Warm and Cozy Homespun Christmas

Third Place: Warm and Cozy Homespun Christmas

Free Healthcare Directives program

Protect your rights and make your wishes known

The Winona Health Auxiliary will hold a free, informational program about Healthcare Directives on Monday, November 16, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Everyone age 18 and older is encouraged to have a Healthcare Directive. This program will provide information about the need for and benefits of having a Healthcare Directive, which enables people to retain control over their care, even after the ability to speak on their own behalf is lost. Trained and certified Winona Health Auxiliary volunteers facilitate this program with participants using authorized forms. The session will cover both Minnesota and Wisconsin Healthcare Directives.

A follow-up program will be held Monday, November 30, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and is open to anyone who has attended the informational program who would like assistance completing their directive or to have their completed forms reviewed.

These programs are free and no advanced registration is required. The program is presented in the Parkview Conference Room at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Avenue in Winona.

Healthcare Directive volunteers are also available to give presentations to community groups. For more information about healthcare directives, click here, or call the Winona Health Volunteer Services Office at 507.474.3328.


Flu shot walk-in: November 2 through 4

Healthcare providers recommend that infants over six months, children and adults, including women who are pregnant, get a flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated not only helps protect you from the flu, it helps protect those you come in contact with.

Winona Health will offer flu shots on a walk-in basis during the following dates:

Monday, November 2 through Wednesday, November 4, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

High dose vaccine is available.

Check in for a flu shot on the second floor of the clinic at 855 Mankato Avenue in Winona. Please note that some waiting may be required and shots are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Insurance will be filed, or individuals may pay $35 at time of check in. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Children age 8 and under who did not receive a flu vaccine during last year’s flu season may need a second vaccine 30 days after receiving the first vaccine dose. If you have questions regarding dosage, please contact your healthcare provider.

More information about influenza is available on the Winona Health website:

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with a Primary Care provider at Winona Health, call 507.454.3650.

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Enjoy the Fantasy of Trees: November 9 – 21.

Winona Health Auxiliary Fantasy of Trees

A few of the trees from last year’s event.

The Winona Health Auxiliary will hold its 15th annual Fantasy of Trees Monday, November 9 through Saturday, November 21. This is a perfect opportunity to bid on a decorated tree for your home or to give as a gift.

The Fantasy of Trees features beautifully decorated holiday trees displayed on the clinic first and second floor at Winona Health, 859 Mankato Avenue, Winona. These trees, which range from 1 to 4 feet high, have been decorated with various themes and generously donated by Winona-area businesses and individuals. Trees are the ideal size to add a festive touch in any room of your home or apartment, children’s rooms, entryways, businesses and offices.

Those who haven’t been contacted about donating a tree and would like more information are encouraged to call Sue at 507.459.7659 or email

The trees will be on display:
Monday-Thursday, November 9-12; 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday, November 13; 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The trees will be open for bid and the famous See’s Candy will be sold:
Monday, November 16; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday, November 17; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday, November 18; 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 19; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday, November 20; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, November 21; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Holiday Décor for sale:
Wednesday, November 18; 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Thursday – Friday, November 19 – 20; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, November 21; 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Everyone is welcome to the Fantasy of Trees Holiday Open House Wednesday, November 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served and lovely centerpieces, wreaths and other holiday décor created by volunteer designers will be sold.

Proceeds from the trees, centerpieces, wreaths and candy will go toward healthcare scholarships and enhancing Winona Health’s Transitional Care Unit located in Lake Winona Manor.

For more information, please call Winona Health’s Volunteer Services office at 507.474.3328, or click here.

Sewing Day: Wed., Oct. 14

Like to sew?
You’re invited to pillowcase sewing day, Wednesday, October 14

Sara Gabrick and Robin Trombetta with a sample of their pillowcases for surgery patients.

Sara Gabrick and Robin Trombetta with a sample of their pillowcases for surgery patients.

When facing surgery, smiles may not be the norm. But lovely, hand-crafted pillowcases are bringing smiles to patients at Winona Health.

The idea of providing patients with a colorful pillowcase was initiated by two neighborhood friends who share a love of quilting. Robin Trombetta and Sara Gabrick, who is also service line leader for Specialty Services at Winona Health, decided their extra material could be used to create unique pillowcases, each with coordinating colored trim and end panel.

Robin and Sara invite others to help them in this creative endeavor. Volunteers are needed to cut material, choose patterns and colors and sew the case. The first ‘sewing bee’ will be held in BA Miller Auditorium on the hospital third floor, Wednesday, October 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come for a couple of hours or all day.

“Our patients are delighted to choose their personal pillowcase that will follow them through surgery, to the inpatient unit and then home. It brings a smile to their face and softens the fear of procedure,” said Sara.

If you have questions about the sewing day, email or call Winona Health Volunteer Services at 507.474.3328.

Donations are also accepted to the ‘Sewing Fund’ through the Winona Health Foundation.

Fireworks! Tuesday, October 6

Residents enjoying last year's Lake Winona Manor fireworks.

Residents enjoying last year’s Lake Winona Manor fireworks.

Winona Health Lake Winona Manor lights up the sky Tuesday, October 6

Winona Health Lake Winona Manor is treating residents and their families to fireworks on Tuesday, October 6. Community members also are welcome. The fireworks display will begin at 7 p.m. and will last approximately 20 minutes.

For many skilled nursing care residents, it’s difficult to attend a fireworks show–so Winona Health’s Lake Winona Manor staff brings the fireworks to the residents.

“Our residents love this event.” said Jennifer Schultz, a Lake Winona Manor certified therapeutic recreation specialist. “We are grateful to those who have given to support the fireworks at Lake Winona Manor. Their generosity makes this event possible.”

The fireworks will be over Lake Winona in Lake Winona Manor’s north parking area. Parking is available in the Winona Health parking ramp, near Adith Miller and Roger Metz Manors, the Winona Clinic lot and the Lake Winona Manor south lot. The east and west entrance to Parks Avenue will be blocked.

In the event of bad weather, the fireworks will be held the following evening. Those who have questions may call 507.494.5725.

Birthday Ball proceeds to benefit those who need Transitional Care

Example of an updated room in the Transitional Care Unit.

Example of an updated room in the Transitional Care Unit.

After cancer surgery a year ago, Mary Brenno had planned to return home. She was sure she could take care of herself. However, when she was transferred from ICU to a regular hospital room, she realized how much work it would be changing bandages, and also realized how weak she was.

With encouragement from her family, she decided to go to Winona Health’s Transitional Care Unit (TCU). She stayed there two and a half weeks before she was ready to go home.

She was on a strict diet — no raw foods — which had to be followed to the letter, and the Winona Health staff were always there on time with her menu choices. After a bit, though, she had a real yen for sweet corn and a salad. The dietitian told her to give it a try, and she felt comfortable in doing so, because there would be people there to help her if it turned out to be the wrong decision.

At first she needed help walking, and as she began to strengthen, she didn’t need as much care, but the staff was always there just in case.

She was glad to be in the TCU, where she could get help, and felt safe. But after a couple of weeks, she said, she could see that the rooms badly needed refurbishing. “I think I must have had one of the original rooms,” she said.

Mary was grateful for the TCU and admits she really wasn’t ready to go home. She says everyone was courteous and helpful, and she would do it again, but those rooms need to be a lot cheerier!

Molly Jensen, who is director of nursing at Winona Health’s Lake Winona Manor, wants to improve the atmosphere in one of the fastest-growing areas of the hospital complex. The TCU needs more than cosmetic paint, she says, it needs a whole facelift!

That’s why the Winona Health Auxiliary has earmarked funds raised from this year’s Birthday Ball for the TCU.

The TCU, the Bluffview area of Lake Winona Manor, is where patients stay while receiving inpatient rehabilitation services. Many of the TCU patients are recovering from orthopedic surgeries such as knee or hip replacements, some patients are there to regain their strength after surgery, and others may have fallen and are there to improve their chances of not falling again. All of the patients need temporary care.

The goal of the TCU is to return patients to their prior living arrangements. They do this through intensive programs of various therapies — physical, occupational, or speech, for example. One of the first things a patient encounters upon entering the TCU is a plan to be discharged — a concrete goal.

To be admitted to the TCU, patients must have referrals from their doctors, and many come through Winona Health, Gundersen Health Systems in La Crosse, and Mayo Clinic Health Systems in La Crosse and Rochester. A TCU in Winona, close to home, is a boon to rehabbing patients, as it is important for family and friends to be able to easily visit them.

A typical stay in the TCU is 23 days, and the days are filled with activity. Patients attend daily rehab therapy sessions, are transported for follow-up doctor appointments, trips outside if they are able, meals, appointments at the beauty shop which is close to the TCU, visitors, and updating plans for discharge.

There is a dining room in the unit, but Jensen says that about half of the patients prefer to stay in their rooms for meals. That is just another reason that she would like to see the rooms renovated. Patients like to spend time in their rooms, and Jensen thinks they should be attractive and inviting.

All the rooms are singles now, as research shows that when patients are in single rooms they are more likely to find their stays more soothing, which contributes to a healing atmosphere.

Right now, says Jensen, the rooms still have the tell-tale institutional signs of their 1960s origins. The rooms were built as double rooms, so electric outlets and other health care connections are still visible on the walls. Jensen would like to update the rooms to be more home-like by adding new sinks, less institutional lighting, beds, and side tables.

She points to four rooms in the unit that were renovated for Hospice patients as a good model for what she would like to see in the rest of the TCU rooms. She is looking forward to the funds raised by the Auxiliary to begin work on the unit.

“We already do a great job of rehabilitation,” says Jensen, “but patients spend a lot of time in their rooms, and we want to give them something nice to look at!”

Invitations to the Winona Health Auxiliary Birthday Ball have been sent to recent patrons and others who have requested an invitation. RSVP by September 25. For more information or to RSVP for the Ball, click here or  call 507.474.3328.


Do you have your mask for the Ball?

Birthday Ball guests encouraged to get masks for the Black & White Ball

MasksIt’s time to get your mask for the Winona Health Auxiliary Birthday Ball, Black and White: A Masquerade. The theme of this, the 53rd Birthday Ball fundraiser dinner dance for Winona Health, recalls the famous Truman Capote gala of 1966. That Black and White Ball was also a masquerade, and Capote invited the crème de la crème of society — Hollywood, the media, the art world, and important rulers.

The organizers of the Birthday Ball are inviting everyone in the community to the ball, and are encouraging guests to dress in black and white, and to wear a mask in the spirit of the evening.

Masquerades have a long history in most societies. It is thought that West African tribes used masks in spiritual and ceremonial festivals. From there, the use of masks spread to Italy, especially to Venice, where they are documented to have been used as early as the 13th century. Masks are still associated with the celebration of Mardi Gras carnival, the time of partying before the season of Lent in the Roman Catholic religion. Masquerade balls moved from there to France, and then to England, and were often held to honor royalty, or a special event.

Also from West Africa, the use of masks and masquerades spread to the Caribbean and to America, where Mardi Gras is still celebrated, famously in New Orleans, and Brazil.

The fun and mystery of masks over the centuries will land in Winona on October 17 at Visions Event Center. Masks will be for sale at the Glady D. Miller Gift Shop in the Winona Health hospital lobby and at various places downtown: La Boutique, Hearts Desire, Baby Bean, and at Bridal Boutique on West Broadway. Masks will also be available at pre-ball parties and on the night of the Ball.

Funds raised by the Birthday Ball will be used to renovate the Transitional Care Unit at Winona Health’s Lake Winona Manor, where patients can stay temporarily while recovering and rehabilitating from surgery or hospitalization before returning to their previous living arrangement.

For more information or to RSVP for the Birthday Ball, The Black & White Ball: A Masquerade, click here , or call 507.474.3328.


Residents say “Thanks!”

Lake Winona Manor residents say “Thanks!” by celebrating Steve Blue Day

Lake Winona Manor residents and staff rolled out the blue carpet to welcome Steve Blue and his mom, Helen, to Steve Blue Day. Residents were celebrating Blue to thank him for raising money to purchase the new bus, which will take them on many adventures.

Lake Winona Manor residents and staff rolled out the blue carpet to welcome Steve Blue and his mom, Helen, to Steve Blue Day.

For Delores, it’s the trips to the casino. “Oh, yes!” She sparkles. “But I’m very careful. I just take so much along and then that’s it! I’ve lived here [Lake Winona Manor] for two years and I’ve loved it since the first day. There is always something to look forward to.”

For Betty, it’s getting a ride to the boat. “Getting out on the pontoon is so beautiful. The scenery, seeing the eagles…I love the water. Being out there brings back such good memories of fishing with my dad.”

For Clifford, it’s the ability to get out and keep moving. “It’s just nice to go places. I was in the military, so I’ve been moving around my whole life. I’ve also been in all sorts of vehicles. This new bus is a smooth ride.”

The bus Clifford is referring to is the new Lake Winona Manor bus. For Delores, Betty, Clifford and their fellow Lake Winona Manor and Senior Living at Watkins residents, the new Lake Winona Manor bus means fun, freedom and adventure. And they have local businessman Steve Blue to thank for making the new bus a reality.

Blue, CEO of Miller Ingenuity, learned a new skill and put it to good use. Blue raised $43,000 during Dancing with Winona Stars and other fundraising efforts leading up to the August 15 dance competition. Blue took first place in total dollars raised among the dozen or so dancers.

To thank Blue for the beautiful new Winona Health blue and white bus, residents invited him to Steve Blue Day at Lake Winona Manor. The Thursday, September 17 event began with residents riding the new bus to pick up Blue and bringing him back to Lake Winona Manor where they rolled out the blue carpet and donned blue party hats and beads.

Residents watched a video of Blue’s dance, and then he addressed the residents, several of whom recognized him from his days visiting his late father at Lake Winona Manor. Blue’s mother was with him for the event, and he began by saying, “I’d like to recognize my mother, Helen Blue. Obviously she didn’t spend any money on dance lessons for me when I was a kid.” Blue went on to say that the money raised for their new bus is an indication of the many people who care about Lake Winona Manor residents.

If there is one thing that surprised Blue about this experience, it’s that the response was so generous. “I expected to raise a lot of money,” he said. “I thought we’d raise maybe $30,000. But $43,000? Wow. And as they say, ‘generosity is its own reward.’”

Jennifer Schultz, who leads Lake Winona Manor’s therapeutic recreation team, said, “We can’t say enough how much we appreciate Steve’s effort in making this happen. Our residents so enjoy the many outings we plan throughout the year. The new bus will continue to make these adventures possible.”

For information about senior living options at Winona Health, click here.