COVID RESPONSE: NHRMC Teams Work Together to Support Patients, One Another as Part of Rehab Move

June 15, 2020
Rehab staff for Cl
In anticipation of a higher demand for patient beds due to COVID-19, NHRMC moved patients from the Rehabilitation Hospital to the Orthopedic Hospital in April, and teamwork made the difference.
The Rehabilitation Hospital, based at the 17th Street campus, provides inpatient treatment and offers comprehensive rehabilitation services to patients with both chronic conditions and traumatic injuries.  
Relocating the hospital to the Orthopedic Hospital on Wrightsville Avenue took effort from many individuals and teamwork across multiple departments. Leslie Kesler, Administrator of Rehabilitation Services, said “in this together” was never more evident than in the planning and implementation of the inpatient rehab program being temporarily relocated.
“Patient transport was great –  they were safe, and the crew tried to make it fun for the patients and the staff,” Kesler said. “Staff were very engaged for the weeks leading up to the move and involved in planning using Lean processes.”
The effort included collaboration between Patient Transport, Food and Nutrition Services, Information Services, Facilities, Environmental Services, Pharmacy, Supply Chain, Distribution, operational leadership, and management and staff at both hospital sites.  
“Logistics surrounding moving 30 patients and all of the needed supplies and equipment could seem overwhelming,” said David Oehler, Administrator of Orthopedic Hospital. Yet the teams worked together and “met the challenge with remarkable poise, speed, and execution that was efficient and kept our patients safe, informed, and largely oblivious to the challenges and efforts that were taking place.”  
After Rehab patients moved, some of NHRMC’s most vulnerable patients —oncology and pulmonology patients— were moved to the Rehab space, which was farther away from areas used to treat possible or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Kesler and Freddy Simpson, Manager of Rehabilitation Nursing, said teams at the Orthopedic Hospital were welcoming and supportive. “They were so nice in helping us get set up to continue to provide the best care we could for the patients that were with us,” Simpson said. “From the cafeteria staff to the whole leadership teams, it was a lot of work, but there wasn’t a barrier that someone didn’t try to help you with.”
“Bringing the Ortho Hospital together with the Rehabilitation Hospital highlighted the great things these teams and programs do every day in caring for and intensely working to return our patients to a better physical condition,” Oehler said.
Rehab patients returned to their normal home in May.