Johnson Memorial Hospital provides general acute medical care to patients of the hospital district, including surgical, emergency, lab, and x-ray services. The hospital is staffed on a 24-hour basis, with highly-trained and dedicated RNs and LPNs. The nurses deliver comprehensive care to those served. Our staff has been recognized at the state and national level for providing quality care to our patients. JMHS is a designated Level IV Trauma Center and is the seventh hospital in Minnesota to become certified in Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS).

Services include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Emergency Room
  • General Surgery
  • Hospice
  • In-Patient
  • IV Therapy
  • Outpatient Observation
  • Swing Bed
  • Same Day Surgery
  • Endoscopy Suite
  • Transitional Care
  • Wound Care


We understand the vital role frequent communication from friends and family plays in the overall health of our patients. We invite you to visit during normal visiting hours 8:30 am – 8:00 pm. If you are unable to visit in person we encourage you to communicate by email. The recipient will receive it within 24 hours during regular business days (8am-5pm M-F). Contact Us


We offer inpatient hospital care for a broad spectrum of serious medical conditions including:


  • Pneumonia
  • Heart Failure
  • COPD Exacerbation
  • Serious Infections
  • GI Obstruction
  • Dehydration
  • Acute Kidney Failure
  • Uncontrolled Diabetes
  • Anemia/Blood Transfusion
  • Stroke Care

In cases where a higher level of specialty care is required, we will stabilize your medical illness and correspond with the most appropriate tertiary care hospital ( Avera, Sanford, Mayo Clinic, St. Cloud, etc.) for a quick transfer. Our ER physician will communicate directly with the appropriate physician at the receiving facility for a smooth transition of care.


Chemotherapy is often a vital part of a treatment plan when battling cancer. Our Chemotherapy Infusion Suite eliminates the need for long-distance travel and provides you with the opportunity for more recovery time at home. Our suite provides:

  • A calming, relaxing environment
  • State of the art treatment chairs with heat and massage, as well as personal television.s
  • Snacks, beverages and specialty drinks available for our patients and their companion.

JMHS abides by the Oncology Nursing Society guidelines for administering chemotherapy. Every nurse on the team has taken certification classes with the Oncology Nursing Society and trained in Chemotherapy and Biotherapy. The services are led by Oncologist and Hematologist Dr. Ferdinand Addo of the Prairie Lakes Cancer Center in Watertown, SD, however, we work in conjunction with any oncologists.

Emergency Care

The emergency room has two bays for trauma and one treatment room. We recently updated our equipment to provide our patients with the best care possible, with state-of-the-art technology. All physicians and RNs are ACLS certified.


During the first critical minutes of emergency care, two heads are better than one. The around-the-clock eEmergency team ensures you have access to immediate emergency care and supports your local providers through access to a consult on request.

Through two-way video technology, eEmergency makes available board-certified emergency physicians and emergency-trained nurses to assist local providers in treating trauma, heart attack, stroke, and other critical conditions.

Please remember to use the emergency entrance when coming to the emergency room.

Outpatient Observation

Outpatient observation permits patients who have problems (which normally do not qualify for a hospital stay) to be allowed to stay in the hospital for a “specified amount of time”. It is appropriate for problems that can usually be treated aggressively and normally can be treated in 24-48 hours or conditions for which the cause has not yet been determined. Examples include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Kidney Stones
  • Fever
  • Some breathing problems
  • Some types of chest pain.

Each insurance payers have different “specified amount of time?” that are covered in observation.

  • Medicare – observation services cannot exceed 48 hours. Typically a decision to release or admit is made within 24 hours.
  • Medicaid allows up to 48 hours.
  • Private Insurances may vary but most permit only 23 hours in observation.

At the end of the “specified amount of time,” your practitioner will decide whether to release you from the hospital or to admit you as an in-patient.

Some patients are placed into outpatient observation after undergoing an outpatient surgical procedure if it is considered medically necessary. For example, Medicare allows for a 4-6 hour “recovery period” time. The intent of outpatient surgery is to have your surgery and be discharged the same day. However, if you experience a postoperative complication then your practitioner may place you into observation to monitor you further. Examples include:

  • Inability to urinate.
  • Inability to keep solids or liquids down requiring IV feedings.
  • Inability to control pain.
  • Unexpected surgical bleeding.

Outpatient observation stay is billed under outpatient services (under Medicare this would be under Part B) while full inpatient admission is billed under inpatient services (under Medicare this would be billed under Part A).

Swing Bed

Swing Bed is a program designed to provide additional inpatient care to those needing extra time to heal or strengthen before returning home.

The term Recovery Care came from the idea that the patient will “swing”, or transition, from inpatient acute care through the program to return home to the same level of independence prior to entering the hospital.

Examples include:

  • Knee Replacement
  • Hip Replacement
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Rehab after major surgery or trauma
  • Pain Management
  • Wound Care

Who qualifies for Swing Bed?

  • Patients must need on-going monitoring or require rehabilitative therapy.
  • There are no age restrictions.
  • Swing Bed is routinely considered for patients who have had hip or knee surgery and need additional therapy before returning home.

Benefits of Swing Bed

  • Patients can usually wear their own clothes (unless medically inappropriate)
  • If approved by the physician, the patient can leave the facility for short periods of time
  • Activities Director will meet with patient and family to identify interests and help provide diversional activities
  • Doctor visits are less frequent unless requested by a nurse or care plan

Swing Bed Referral Process

Referrals to Swing Bed come from the attending physician once it has been determined that the patient no longer requires acute care level of services, but will still have a skilled medical reason to stay in the hospital setting.

The Swing Bed case manager reviews medical records and confers with therapy staff and the patient’s nurses to determine the skill need.

For out-of-hospital referrals, the case manager makes a decision about the patient’s skill level based on information from the referring facility.


Medicare and private insurance pay for skilled Swing Bed services. To qualify for Medicare admission to Recovery Care, the patient must have had an acute hospital stay of at least three days.

For insurance patients, authorization for skilled Swing Bed must be obtained from the insurance carrier prior to admission. After admission, the case manager will be in communication with the insurance carrier about the length of stay covered.

For private pay patients, the patient or patient’s representative agrees to pay full charges following discharge from the Swing Bed program.

Why Johnson Memorial Health Services

Located in Dawson, MN Johnson Memorial provides Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapies as well as Skilled Nursing, Social Services, Dietary Consultation, and Patient/Family Education.

Our facilities are connected with the local care center providing additional activities for our patients. For more information please contact Mary Helgeson at 320-312-2135.

Same Day Surgery

Once the decision has been made to schedule a surgery/procedure, you will also be scheduled for a complete history and physical exam to be done by your healthcare provider. All pertinent testing and lab work will be completed at the time of this appointment. A surgical nurse will call you and complete a questionnaire about your health history as well as give you specific instructions for your upcoming surgical/procedure date.

Before Surgery

The night before your surgery/procedure, please be sure to follow any pre-surgical instructions. You will be notified usually a day or two before the surgery/procedure of the scheduled time to report to the hospital.

  • Eating and Drinking – Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the day before your surgery or as specified by your physician. Please remember not to swallow water when brushing teeth. Do not chew gum or use mints as this activates your gastric juices causing a risk for nausea/vomiting during and after sedation.
  • Valuables – Please do not bring valuables such as jewelry or cherished personal items to the hospital. Bring your insurance card if you have one.
  • Medications – Please bring your prescription bottles of medications with you to your clinic appointment. You may be asked to take certain medications with a sip of water before you arrive at the hospital on the day of your procedure/surgery. While you’re in the hospital, the nurse will provide all medications needed.
  • Smoking – Limit or abstain from smoking before surgery. Smoking is not permitted on the JMHS campus.
  • Illness – Please notify your physician if a sore throat, cold, fever, or other symptoms develop prior to surgery/procedure.
  • Transportation – An adult must accompany you at discharge to transport you home. Please arrange for someone to stay with you at your home for the first 24 hours following your surgery/procedure, especially if you have a general anesthetic.
  • Attire/Appearance – Wear comfortable clothing, minimal make-up, remove contact lenses and nail polish. Do not shave or clip the surgical site area for 48 hours prior to surgery.
  • Shower/Bathing – It is appropriate to bath and/or shower on the night before and the morning of your surgery. During your bath/shower please use an antimicrobial soap or surgical soap you received at your history & physical.
During Your Stay

Admitting – A nurse will admit you to a patient room and provide you with a gown and a closet for your personal items. The nurse will prepare you for surgery (i.e. start IV, sign consents, clip surgical area, etc.) You will then wait in that room until the time of your scheduled surgery/procedure when a surgical nurse will take you to the procedure room.

Anesthetic – The anesthetist or nurse will discuss the anesthetic with you prior to your surgery/procedure.

Following the Procedure

When the procedure is over you will be taken to the recovery room and then returned to your same day surgery room. You will use either a recliner or a bed during this recovery period. Nurses will carefully monitor your recovery, provide light nourishment, and give you instructions for follow-up care.

  • The usual recovery period for same day surgery is 30 minutes to four hours. There is no rush to leave, stay until you feel ready to go home.
  • You will be instructed NOT to drive a car, drink alcoholic beverages or operate complex machinery for 24 hours after your surgery/procedure.
  • Important decision-making should be delayed until you have made a full recovery from anesthesia (24 hours).
  • Should there be a change in your plan of care, you may require overnight hospitalization.
  • A responsible adult should be with you for 24 hours after your surgery/procedure. You may experience lightheadedness and dizziness following your surgery/procedure. DO NOT STAY ALONE!