Bethesda Hospital

Long-term acute care for medically complex patients.
Bethesda Hospital

Bethesda's History

Founded in 1883, we have a history of making history. Bethesda Hospital, a member of HealthEast, has grown from a small, community hospital to the largest long-term acute care hospital in the region. We’re different from other facilities because we provide an integrated program – treating the physical, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of our patients.

  • 1883 – Swedish Lutherans opened Bethesda Hospital by Lake Como. They had seen, and responded to, a need to provide care to the indigent and growing Swedish population. Ownership of Bethesda Hospital belonged to the Tabitha Society of the State of Minnesota, a body that had been organized by the Swedish Lutheran Minnesota Conference. The cost of the eight-acre hospital site and building was $6,000.
  • 1892 – The hospital was relocated to a larger and more centrally located facility at 9th and Wacouta Street. The Rev. Carl A. Hultkrans was Bethesda’s superintendent from 1891-1915. His personal dream was to make Bethesda “the spiritual power station” of all Lutheran charitable institutions.
  • 1910 – At the turn of the century, Bethesda Hospital had separate wards for men and women. Patients of either gender were expected to make their own beds and to be up and dressed during the day. The charge for a bed, with board and care, was $6 per week.
  • 1932 – The new hospital—opened in 1932 and located behind the State Capitol—was a visible reminder of the dedication of countless individuals and a fundraising campaign that spanned several years.
  • 1940 – A Bethesda nurse of the 1940s was primarily occupied with monitoring temperature, pulse and respiration as well as giving baths, backrubs, medications and enemas. Hospital patients stayed in bed longer and were more dependent upon their nurses.
  • 1977 – Eleanor Jahnke, a 1936 Bethesda nursing graduate, spent her career at the hospital as the head of Medical Records. She then joined its Volunteer/Auxiliary group in 1977. Ultimately, she spent more than 75 years at Bethesda Hospital. (Eleanor received an Eleven Who Care award from KARE 11 TV in 2008 at the age of 96.)
  • 1986 – Bethesda Lutheran Medical Center merged with Health Resources and Baptist Hospital Fund to become a member of HealthEast Care System. Today, Bethesda is one of the largest, free-standing, not-for-profit long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) in the nation devoted to caring for chronically, critically ill, medically complex patients.
  • 1988 – Began transformation from short-term acute care community hospital to one of two long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) in the state.
  • 1993 – Opened wound care center and began offering specialized brain injury services.
  • 2001 –
    • Received Minnesota Hospital Association Best Hospital Workplace award.
    • Named one of the Top 20 specialty hospitals in the country by Modern HealthCare magazine.
  • 2002 – Opened Wold Memorial Wing for respiratory care and introduced new healing arts program.
  • 2003 – Celebrated 100 years of providing compassionate, specialized medical care to the community by dedicating the Therapeutic Garden for patients, families and employees.
  • 2004 – Implemented pet therapy program.
  • 2005 –
    • Introduced visual arts programming; focused on painting, drawing and ceramics.
    • Opened the Capistrant Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.
    • Opened the renovated Welcome Center featuring the History and Resource Center, the Family Recreation Center and the Chapel.
  • 2007 –
    • Opened HealthEast Concussion Clinic at Bethesda Hospital, the first treatment center of its kind in the Upper Midwest.
    • Began a relationship with COMPAS, partnering with community artists to bring unique programs into the hospital.
    • Named Brain Injury Association Service Provider of the Year.
    • Received a Psychologically Healthy Workplace award from the Minnesota Psychological Association.
  • 2008 –
    • Named Goldberg Innovation Award winner for improving patient care through nutrition care.
    • Inaugurated Tai Chi program for Parkinson’s patients.
    • Celebrated 125th anniversary serving the unique post-acute health care needs of our community.
  • 2009 –
    • Established partnership with Northern Clay Center for special Parkinson’s patients clay art class.
    • Began welcoming musical performing arts groups to therapeutic recreation activities.
  • 2011 –
    • Named a Goldberg Innovation Award winner for creating a ventilator weaning pathway to improve patient ventilator weaning rates.
    • Received the HealthPartners Innovation Award for creating a ventilator weaning pathway to improve patient ventilator weaning rates.
    • Developed a long-term acute care hospital software trigger tool to identify appropriate patients for appropriate transfer at the appropriate time.
    • Debuted the Dance for Parkinson’s class (first of its kind in the Upper Midwest) and the Super Body, Super Brain class for Parkinson’s patients.
  • 2012 –
    • Dedicated the North Garden, a place where Bethesda behavioral patients can experience fresh air and the great outdoors in a safe environment.
    • Opened Family Hospitality Rooms where patients’ families who travel here from outside the area and out of state can rest, relax and refresh.
  • Read on to learn more about recent HealthEast awards and recognition.

Photos from Bethesda's past

Check out these historical photos of Bethesda Hospital.

bh_victoria_ave_1883

In 1883, Swedish Lutherans opened Bethesda Hospital by Lake Como. They had seen, and responded to, a need to provide care to the indigent and growing Swedish population. Ownership of Bethesda Hospital belonged to the Tabitha Society of the State of Minnesota, a body that had been organized by the Swedish Lutheran Minnesota Conference. The cost of the eight-acre hospital site and building was $6,000.

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bh_upham_house_1890

In 1892, the hospital was relocated to a larger and more centrally located facility at 9th and Wacouta Street. The Rev. Carl A. Hultkrans was Bethesda’s superintendent from 1891-1915. His personal dream was to make Bethesda “the spiritual power station” of all Lutheran charitable institutions.

×
bh_mens_ward

At the turn of the century, Bethesda Hospital had separate wards for men and women. Patients of either gender were expected to make their own beds and to be up and dressed during the day. The charge for a bed, with board and care, was $6 per week.

×
bh_capitol_blvd_1933

The new hospital—opened in 1932 and located behind the State Capitol—was a visible reminder of the dedication of countless individuals and a fundraising campaign that spanned several years.

×
bh_nursing_care

A Bethesda nurse of the 1940s was primarily occupied with monitoring temperature, pulse and respiration as well as giving baths, backrubs, medications and enemas. Hospital patients stayed in bed longer and were more dependent upon their nurses.

×
bh_eleanor_jahnke

Eleanor Jahnke, a 1936 Bethesda nursing graduate, spent her career at the hospital as the head of Medical Records. She then joined its Volunteer/Auxiliary group in 1977. Ultimately, she spent more than 75 years at Bethesda Hospital. Eleanor received an Eleven Who Care award from KARE 11 TV in 2008 at the age of 96.

×
bh_1980s

In 1986, Bethesda Lutheran Medical Center merged with Health Resources and Baptist Hospital Fund to become a member of HealthEast Care System. Today, Bethesda is one of the largest, free-standing, not-for-profit long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) in the nation devoted to caring for chronically, critically ill, medically complex patients.

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bh_victoria_ave_1883
bh_upham_house_1890
bh_mens_ward
bh_capitol_blvd_1933
bh_nursing_care
bh_eleanor_jahnke
bh_1980s