When Ashley Kingdon-Reese went through her practicum for nurses training at Dakota Wesleyan University, she noticed one recurring theme with aging patients she treated in hospitals and nursing homes — they wanted to stay in their own homes.
She graduated in May 2014, and opened Independent Health Solutions that November to offer nursing support care right in their homes instead of going into a long-term care facility.
Their focus is on those who are chronically ill or elderly.
“We offer everything from skilled nursing with IV’s in the home and home care to homemaker and personal care,” said Kingdom-Reese, who is also a nurse at Banner. “We look at the patients, see what barriers stand in their way. My job is to find alternatives to help them while staying at home.”
She returned to college and earned her bachelor’s degree in 2016, then received her master’s in business and healthcare leadership in 2018. In 2019 she was chosen to take part in a Golden Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.
“We were the last live class before COVID,” she said. “That was in December 2019.”
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is an initiative for participants to organize and advocate for policies that matter to them. It builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which over the past decade has provided access to education, capital, and support services to more than 10,000 small business owners.
During COVID, staffing shortages in hospitals and nursing homes inspired Kingdon-Reese to expand the business with PRN, linking nurses and aides with facilities in need.
“PRN is a term used for Per Requested Need,” she said. “We opened PRN Professionals because when traveling nurses or medial professionals fill positions they had to receive a contract for a specified amount of time.
Sometimes facilities had to cut regular staffing to fulfill that contract.
“We had nurses who willing to travel; they work as independent contractors,” Kingdon-Reese said. “We really focused on getting nurses around here locally. We focused on long-term care facilities that needed help during COVID.”
There are no contracts the facility must honor, and they have nurses, med aides, housekeepers and CNA’s that travel throughout eastern South Dakota to fill open positions
“My third and most recent endeavor is Angelhaus,” Kingdon-Reese said. Angelhaus is located in the former Violet Tschetter Memorial Home, where she worked during her practicum in college.
“We purchased it a year ago November, and opened last year on May 3,” she said. “We have 30 residents. We’re licensed for 45, but we’re taking it slow.”
She operates Angelhaus with her partner, Nathan Gellhaus, who works with assisted living and memory care in Aberdeen and Yankton. He also attended the Goldman Sachs business program with her.
Angelhaus is a behavioral health unit that includes 24-hour medical staffing. Their goal is to provide life skills to these individuals and help them get back into the community.
The Independent Health Solutions and PRN branch of the business employs about 100 individuals in this region, with another 20 employed at Angelhaus.
“My team is the backbone,” Kingdon-Reese said. “We have some of the best professionals right here in South Dakota. They are passionate, they care, and they give their best. I don’t want this to be a job for them, I want it to be a career. I want them to be able to make a living at making a difference.”
Kingdon-Reese grew up in Hitchcock, and operated a day care and Ida Mae’s Restaurant in Huron prior to earning her nursing and business degrees.
“My grandmother was my inspiration,” Kingdon-Reese said. “Thelmalee Kingdon, everybody called her Teddy. She was instrumental in transitioning the local hospital when the nuns stopped running it.
“I enjoy this more than anything,” she added. “The rewards and satisfactions of seeing changes and making differences. I see that everyday.”
Independent Health Solutions is located at 1143 Lincoln Ave. S.W. Call 605-352-HOME (4663).