Thursday, September 19, 2013

Loyola honors courage, determination of 52 rehab patients

Robert Strezo, honored as a Loyola Rehab Patient of the Year, poses with (from left) occupational therapist Nicole Kritikos, physical therapist Natalie Hackett and occupational therapist Puja Mukherjee.

Fifty-two patients who have shown extraordinary courage and determination were honored during Loyola University Medical Center’s annual Rehab Patient of the Year Celebration.

The patients rehabbed in Loyola’s inpatient rehabilitation unit and outpatient services for such conditions as stroke, amputation, hip surgery, organ transplant, severe burns and deconditioning from prolonged hospital stays.

“You have made it through some very difficult times,” said Dr. Steve Gnatz, medical director of the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, which sponsored the celebration.

Each of the patients had earlier been named Patient of the Week. They were selected from the hundreds of patients who during the last year have undergone physical, occupational and speech-language therapy.

Patients often have to push themselves to do three hours of therapy a day, despite pain and exhaustion. “But all of you overcame those feelings,” said Beverly Peck, acute rehabilitation nurse manager. “With the assistance of the acute rehab team – including physicians, therapists, nurses, patient care technicians and social workers – you were able to reach the goals that you set for yourself."

Patients were selected for showing qualities such as a good-hearted personality, hard work, dedication, support and guidance to other patients and a willingness to participate in therapy sessions even when fatigued, said occupational therapist Joelle Johnson.

“The therapists and rehab staff come to work every day because of people like you,” Johnson said. “You have taught me kindness, patience, love, dedication, perseverance and hard work."

Patients, in turn, praised their therapists. “The thing that gets you through rehab is the love and attention of the therapists,” said patient Robert Strezo, who has undergone extensive hip rehabilitation.

Loyola’s acute inpatient rehabilitation unit includes two dedicated therapy rooms and private patient rooms with wheelchair-accessible bathrooms. The unit recently was  re-accredited for the maximum three years by CARF International, an independent, non-profit accrediting body. This is Loyola’s third consecutive three-year accreditation for comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.