December 2016

Darin Ortmann holds annual toy drive to provide cheer to kids


Darin Ortmann remembers what it’s like to be a child in the hospital around the holidays. At the age of five, Darin spent more than a month in a hospital during the Christmas season. This was in the back of his mind when he decided that he wanted to give back to the community. He chose to partner with his employer, Loafers Bar, to organize a toy drive for children at Swedish Covenant Hospital. Now in its third year, Darin hopes to donate 500 toys to children at Swedish Covenant Hospital this holiday season.

The annual toy drive is a holiday tradition for Darin and Loafers Bar. Just after Thanksgiving, the collection boxes are decorated and placed inside Loafers Bar (2600 W. Lawrence) to collect toys throughout the month of December. In addition, Darin organizes a benefit concert in which attendees are asked to bring a new toy to donate, or to give $5 to purchase a new toy. With additional planning, promotion and the introduction of a raffle, the drive grew from 100 toys in their first year to 400 toys last year.

The drive also serves another purpose – it’s a way to teach the two boys who he nannies for about charity.

“For kids, Christmas is often about getting and I wanted to teach the boys to give back,” Darin said. “The first year, when I was telling the boys about the drive, one of them asked if he could donate one of his toys, too.”

The best part of the drive, according to Darin, is dropping off the toys at the hospital with the boys he nannies for. Along with his two helpers, Darin delivers the toys a few days before Christmas. The boys dress in their elf hats, a nickname affectionately given to them the first year by a nurse in the ED, and help to distribute the toys to the kids.

Darin recalls the warm reaction to the toys, and the impact it has on him and the boys. He remembers one child giving a big hug in return for the toy, as well as a small girl who went from crying one moment to smiles and laughter a few moments later because of their kindness.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Darin said.

To learn more about fundraising on behalf of Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here or contact the Foundation at or (773) 293-5121.

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Spicers give back in appreciation of care received by mothers


Swedish Covenant Hospital holds a special place in the hearts of Tom and Mary Ann Spicer. The physicians and nurses at the hospital provided end of life care for both Tom and Mary Ann’s mothers in the 1990s. To recognize the care they received, Tom and Mary Ann made one of their first gifts to the hospital in memory of their mothers. Now, nearly 20 years later, they continue to support Swedish Covenant Hospital because of these experiences.

It is no coincidence that Tom and Mary Ann’s mothers Wendolyn Fish and Mae Spicer shared the same Swedish Covenant Hospital physician; the two were neighbors and friends. In fact, Tom and Mary Ann grew up two houses away from each other in the Avondale neighborhood.

When Mary Ann’s mother, Wendolyn, became ill, she was referred to Swedish Covenant Hospital’s home health program, and she received home visits from her physician, as well as nurses. When the time came that she needed more care than house call nurses could provide, she was admitted to Swedish Covenant Hospital.

“The care provided by the physicians and house call nurses was overwhelming,” Mary Ann said. “We were happy with all of the care she received; it was better than we could have ever expected.”

Mary Ann’s mother received care on the rehab unit at Swedish Covenant Hospital, until she was well enough to move to a nursing home. The care provided by the nurses at Swedish Covenant Hospital, as well as the home health program stands out to Mary Ann.

Tom’s mother, Mae Spicer, also received care at Swedish Covenant Hospital during the late 1990s. During her battle with emphysema, she had many visits to Swedish Covenant Hospital. Tom and Mary Ann were thankful to be able to receive the same quality care that they had come to expect at the end of Mae’s life.

“We think Swedish Covenant Hospital is a good place and hear good things about it and everyone seems to be in the same direction – focusing on the patients,” Mary Ann said. “For us, there is no hospital other than Swedish.”

To learn more about the Grateful Patient Program at Swedish Covenant Hospital click here, or contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or

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Annual Benefit Gala raises record amount for Patient Care Fund


The 61st Annual Benefit Gala, Kaleidoscope, broke fundraising records at Swedish Covenant Hospital by raising $1 million for the Patient Care Fund. Nearly 900 attendees, including hospital physicians and community leaders, came together to support employee-driven creative solutions to enhance the overall patient experience at Swedish Covenant Hospital. The event was held Oct. 22 at the Hilton Chicago. Mark and Karen Newton chaired the event.

“We are honored to have served as the chairs of the 61st annual gala,” Mark Newton said. “Karen and I wanted to take a leadership role this year as an expression of our gratitude to the Foundation and the Hospital for the incredible opportunity afforded me over the last 17 years. We are humbled by the overwhelming support of sponsors, attendees and donors who have shown that they truly care about Swedish Covenant Hospital patients and want to ensure that patients receive the best care.”

The evening featured an elegant dinner, silent and live auctions, and live appeal, along with a variety of entertainment experiences including a bell choir, steel pannist, ballroom dancers and a live band. Dina Bair, reporter for WGN Morning News, emceed the evening’s program.

The Witz family and Swedish Covenant Hospital Pastoral Care were each awarded the 2016 Spirit of Compassion Award. The Witz family, and Continental Electrical Construction Company, have supported Swedish Covenant Hospital for nearly 60 years, helping to transform the hospital into the institution it is today. The Pastoral Care Department was honored for their service to Swedish Covenant Hospital patients.

Funds raised through the gala will help to expand a new concierge program to provide personalized services to patients and their families, reach more patients through the healing arts program; provide live music throughout the hospital; and provide comfort packages for patients.

Special thanks to elite sponsors Swedish Covenant Hospital Medical Staff, Medical Express Ambulance Service, Inc., Swedish Covenant Managed Care Alliance, Continental Electrical Construction Company, Covenant Ministries of Benevolence, The Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust, North Park University, PNC and Wintrust for your partnership. Also, thank you to all of our supporters – Chairs Mark and Karen Newton, Co-Chairs Dr. Kavita Singh and Ron Chadha, the gala committee, Event Host Dina Bair, gala sponsors, guests, and volunteers – for making the 2016 gala the most successful event to date.

View photos from the 2016 Gala.

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Concierge program expands to meet needs of patients


Inpatients at Swedish Covenant Hospital are now greeted by a new member of the clinical care team – a concierge. Funded through the Patient Care Fund, the new concierge program provides personalized services to patients and their families.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, the program recently expanded through the hiring of a full-time team member, Hannah Prevost-Schultz. Hannah shared with us about her role at Swedish Covenant Hospital and how she hopes to make an impact through her work.

What is your role as a patient experience consultant?

My role is multifaceted which I like because it allows me to be involved in multiple patient experience initiatives at once. We want to make sure we’re being proactive at every touch point in a patient’s care so I am rounding on patients daily, fielding their phone calls and troubleshooting their experiences with them as quickly as possible so we can provide an excellent experience for them. Some days I’m providing our complimentary items to show we want to anticipate their needs and other days I’m lending an empathetic ear as they share about their experience. When patients come here, we want them to know we’re available and responsive and my role supports those efforts.

 Why is the concierge program important?

The program provides another way for us to engage our patients in a very human and non-clinical way. We strive to care for patients as whole persons in their uniqueness and with human kindness. This program seeks to support their clinical healing environment while recognizing and often times anticipating their other human needs. When their days in the hospital are filled with tests, medications and medical terms, we seek to bring another layer of humanity to their experience with us. We are striving to support an environment that creates a feeling of loyalty among our patients. We work to provide ways for them to feel so seen, heard and well cared for that they wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else because they feel so connected to the Swedish Covenant Hospital family.

How has the concierge program made a difference for patients?

I’ve had the privilege of hearing many different patient’s stories over the past few weeks and I’ve seen the impact our program can have on building loyalty because of how they are treated. I sometimes encounter patients whose expectations aren’t being met and through taking the time to listen and empathize with their frustration; I’m able to identify a need (no matter how big or small) and act quickly to address it so they are feeling heard and seen instead of being lost in a system. Other times it’s a simple offer of a complimentary item that they may have forgotten at home in the rush of their unexpected arrival at the hospital. This shows them we’re anticipating their needs, no matter how small, because the patient is at the center of what we do. I’ve seen patient faces turn from frowns to smiles, we’ve shared laughter and tears, all the while reinforcing that amidst the clinical surrounding they’re in, we all see them as a holistic human with dynamic needs and we want to care for them in their entirety, at every touch point.

What inspires you to work for Swedish Covenant Hospital?

I’m inspired every day when I walk the halls in our hospital because of the people I see.  One of the coolest things I’ve learned so far is how many long term employees there are working here. The vast majority of people I’ve met have worked here for 10+ years and I’m already experiencing some of the same reasons why they stay- the community! There is a tangible feeling in the air when you walk around that people genuinely want to work here and serve our community. It’s motivating for me to see that lived out in the stories I hear from our patients and in my own experience getting to know everyone. Swedish Covenant Hospital is a special place.

To learn more about supporting the Patient Care Fund at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here or contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or

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