A Story of Thanks

From a patient’s sister:

“RML has a mission, to wean patients off ventilators, and they excel at fulfilling that mission. My sister was transferred there from a fancy North Shore hospital where they simply sedated her to within an inch of her life and counseled me to “pull the plug”. After mere days at RML she was conscious and aware of her surroundings. They were weaning her off all the drugs from the previous hospital – a very trying process for her and the staff, but they showed great sensitivity and compassion. Within a week of arriving she had also been weaned off the ventilator and was only receiving some supplemental oxygen. By just over three weeks the tracheostomy was removed and she was able to talk and start more active physical therapy. She stayed a total of five weeks to receive additional therapy and get her strength up to transferring to a short-term rehab facility for PT/OT.

I visited almost every day during those five weeks. Yes, a couple of times the entrance did smell like a giant dirty diaper, but those were rare exceptions. The building itself is old and the rooms somewhat cramped, but everything is kept very clean. The staff – nurses, physicians, therapists, aides, support staff, administration, you name it – could not have been more helpful, knowledgeable, and compassionate. Is every single person there a ray of sunshine? No, but the overwhelming majority are and I think families need to remember that their own stress can influence their perceptions. While your family member may want or need assistance, there is a good chance that another patient is in real medical distress and needs more immediate attention. Remember, these people are on ventilators.

Prior to my sister’s transfer to RML I had read these reviews. I realize that the people with complaints are often the ones who bother to write reviews, so I felt I should take the time to share our experience. My sister is a former nurse who worked at several different hospitals during her career and is very demanding and critical as a patient. Before leaving she went out of her way to tell the Nurse Manager that she thought the staff was overall the best she had ever seen. Trust me, she is not one to throw around compliments. She even thought the food wasn’t bad. I hope to never need RML again, but I would not hesitate to place someone there if we ever needed their expertise and care.”

Caring Beyond Physical Needs: Jeff’s Story

My wife Cathy was the lead medical transcriptionist at a busy suburban Chicago hospital until she had a massive heart attack in August of 2005. The heart attack caused too much damage & Cathy was told that she needed a new heart. She had a Left Ventricular Assist Device, an LVAD, installed in her abdomen to assist her heart in pumping to keep her alive until a donor heart could be found.

After Cathy’s LVAD surgery, she needed special care. RML was the only hospital willing to take on her difficult case. To accept Cathy as a patient, RML’s staff needed special training and individualized accommodations to meet her needs. The staff at RML were willing to go above and beyond to accommodate us.

We received expert care at RML. I say ‘we’ because not only did my wife receive exceptional care to treat her illness, but I was also included in the healing process. The team of physicians and therapists had us set goals to help monitor her progress. They let both my wife and I set goals — they did not tell us what we should be doing or how my wife should be progressing, they instead asked our input. This made all the difference in the world to my family. We felt like we were helping direct the course of the care we received instead of being pushed through a pre-designated route in a complex medical system. The staff at RML genuinely cares for both the patient and their family and they treat each individual patient in a unique manner customized to meet the patient’s needs.

Cathy fought through her illness for nine months. She was scared for a lot of that time but throughout each of her 3 stays at RML she was very happy. With the help of staff like psychologist Dr. Joanne Kelly, Cathy was able to rid herself fear and regain control of her life. Unfortunately Cathy never made it to transplant. We were at peace with her medical situation. When the time for Cathy’s passing came, she was at total peace. There was no fear. Cathy realized that everything that could be done was done and it was just her time. The last three days of her life she spent at RML with her family and friends. On that last day, we all said goodbye and she passed away quietly holding her husband’s hand with her nurse and doctor in the room to make sure she passed quietly and painlessly.

This was not the outcome we wanted but it is a part of life. RML realizes this and helped both Cathy and myself through our most difficult days. This is what makes this facility so important… what is best for the patient takes precedence. RML truly has the patient’s best interest in mind.

Thank You,
Jeffrey Black

As One of the Leading Ventilator-weaning Hospitals in the United States, RML Specialty Hospital Is Finding Great Success in Treating COVID-19 Patients

RML Specialty Hospital, which has opened two dedicated COVID-19 units in Hinsdale and Chicago since mid-April, is seeing very positive results to date from its focused, safe approach to weaning patients from ventilators. In just two months, the COVID teams at both locations have provided care to a total of 64 patients—all of whom were admitted to RML on ventilators. Of those, 22 have already been discharged while 40 patients remain in the care of the 105 members of the two COVID teams.

RML Specialty Hospital is one of the largest ventilator-weaning hospitals in the United States and is dedicated to providing “the right care at a critical time.” As the number of COVID patients began to increase dramatically at the end of March, RML leaders responded to requests from Chicago’s acute-care hospitals. They needed RML to take patients recovering from COVID who still required ventilators to support some or all of their breathing.

“There was never a question that we would do this, but the safety of our other patients and our staff was paramount,” said Jim Prister, Chief Executive Officer. “As a long-term acute care hospital, RML treats patients who are very ill and particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. We worked through literally hundreds of issues and created systems and processes scenarios to ensure everyone’s safety.”

The team’s detail-focused approach is yielding positive results: many patients are responding more quickly than anticipated to the team’s dedicated efforts to removing them from ventilator support. In addition, no patient or staff member at either RML location has contracted COVID-19 since the units opened.

“This is what we do,” said Glenn Podzimek, Director of Respiratory Therapy at RML Specialty Hospitals. “The respiratory therapists on the COVID unit are totally focused on the goal. We initiate the first step toward ventilator removal, we monitor, we assess, we get a little more aggressive if the patient is doing well, or we step back if the patient isn’t ready. Together with the entire COVID team, our job is to get them breathing on their own again.”

RML opened the units based on the strict plans developed by a COVID-19 Task Force. Before patients are considered for admission, they must have been in another hospital for at least 10 days and must be fever-free without the support of fever-reducing medications for at least 72 hours.

“With our experience in providing excellent patient care, the appropriate use of ventilators, and physical structures that allow for private rooms, RML Specialty Hospital is providing patients with safe, expert care on their road to recovery,” explained John Brofman, MD, Chief Medical Officer. “We are very pleased to see these kinds of positive results and we hope to publish preliminary data on our outcomes. The most important element of this success: teamwork. Everyone has stepped up to meet the needs of our patients. We still have a long way to go and many questions that must be answered through research, but we are very pleased with the progress to date.”

For more information, contact Mauleen Maly, BSN, ACM-RN, CCM, Senior Provider Relations Specialist, at (630) 286-4101 or MMaly@RMLSpecialtyHospital.org.

RML Specialty Hospital Accepting Patients with COVID-19: Patient and Staff Safety Highest Priority

In support of our mission to provide the right care at a critical time, RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale is now accepting patients recovering from COVID-19.

“With our long-standing expertise in providing care for patients recovering from severe illness, we believe we can best serve our community at this time by accepting patients suffering from COVID-19 disease,” said John Brofman, MD, Chief Medical Officer. “Through our COVID-19 Clinical Task Force, we have developed a plan for admission and treatment that is safe for our patients and our highly dedicated team of providers and support staff.”

Based on the plans developed by the task force, patients who have suffered from COVID-19 disease will be treated in a wing of the hospital that is separate from the rest of the building. Patients will be admitted through a designated, walled-off entrance, which will also serve as the entrance and exit for the RML team providing care.

Before patients can be considered for admission to RML Specialty Hospital, they will have been in another hospital for at least 10 days and will be 72 hours fever-free without the support of fever-reducing medications. Staff members who have volunteered to serve on the COVID unit have received specialized training and have access to all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, gloves, and gowns. These staff members will be monitored twice daily by our Employee Health Department for fever and other symptoms.

“With our experience in providing excellent patient care, the appropriate use of ventilators, and  a physical structure that allow for separate access, RML Specialty Hospital can help relieve current pressures on area intensive care units and provide patients with safe, expert care on their road to recovery,” explained Dr. Brofman. “We are especially grateful to our task force members who have worked tirelessly to develop a thorough implementation plan and to our providers and support staff who have stepped in to meet a critical need.”

For more information, contact Mauleen Maly, BSN, ACM-RN, CCM, Senior Provider Relations Specialist, at (630) 286-4101 or MMaly@RMLSpecialtyHospital.org.