Samantha Quackenbush, care coordinator for Excelsior Wellness Center, is photographed in front on their new building in Spokane on Wednesday. She was an integral part of their switch to 24/7 care in response to demands of COVID-19. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Excelsior staffer moves on campus to keep care consistent for in-patient residents
Emma Epperly-April 24, 2020
Samantha Quackenbush works hard coordinating the in-patient care program at Excelsior Wellness Center, which offers behavioral health care for teens and young adults.
But that hard work rose to a new level when Quackenbush and nine other staff members at Excelsior committed to “hunker down” and live on campus with the residents amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“By being able to shelter in place with the participants, not only is it making the risk way less likely to bring coronavirus into our agency, but also it’s really nice for the kids to have people that they know and see on a daily basis there with them, supporting them, going through it with them,” Quackenbush said.
Excelsior’s 34-acre campus in North Spokane includes a school and a wellness center. An integrated care center is set to open later this year.
Quackenbush works to coordinate clients’ schedules to create a balance between treatment, education and fun.
“They live within a structured environment that is really focused on providing them with life skills,” Quackenbush said.
Quackenbush said she has always wanted to “work with at-risk youth.” While attending Eastern Washington University, a friend mentioned that Excelsior might be a good fit for Quackenbush. She started as a part-time staff member about four years ago and has worked her way into a more hands-on role.
When the coronavirus pandemic began spreading in Washington, small changes were made at Excelsior. Social distancing, extra cleaning, and converting most in-person appointments to telehealth appointments were all implemented relatively quickly.