October 2018

Sara-Stedy Devices Help Patients with Mobility Issues


It looks like a combination between a chair and a walker, but it does so much more! Thanks to an idea from Director of Nursing, Sarah Stadler, and funding from the Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation, these Sara-Stedy devices are helping SCH patients with limited mobility move easily and independently from a standing to a seated position, and reducing the risk of falls.

The ability to rise from a chair or bed is one of the most fundamental movements of daily life, occurring multiple times throughout the day. If a patient is unsteady or is difficult to assist, attempting to transfer them from bed to chair or toilet without the right equipment can put both patient and caregiver at risk of serious injury. The Sara-Stedy ensures that sit-to-stand transfers can be carried out safely, quickly and with ease for both patient and staff. In addition, by allowing patients to use their own strength to move, the Sara-Stedy not only improves the patient’s circulation, breathing, digestion and muscle tone, but it also enhances their activity level and provides them with an active role in their own recovery.

Six, Sara-Stedy devices have been purchased and are now being used throughout the hospital. Patients and medical staff agree, the Sara-Stedy has been life-changing. According to Jacqueline Strzalka, unit manager of 4N, “Even patients who don’t have the strength to take steps on their own can stand using this device, which allows the patient to feel more independent and enables the staff to mobilize the patients more quickly and safely.

Although small in size, the Sara-Stedy has also made a big impact on our patients. As one patient recounted to his caregiver, “…using the device allowed me to take a shower for the first time in two weeks! The Sara-Stedy made me feel in control.”

The Foundation is delighted to support these initiatives, and with your donations, we can continue providing innovative equipment and programming to improve the health and welfare of our patients and staff.  To learn more about supporting patient care initiatives at Swedish Covenant Hospital, contact the Foundation at foundation@swedishcovenant.org or 773-293-5121.

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Alice Perry Leaves Estate Gift


Alice Perry was deeply committed to helping others.  Whether it was improving the lives of her patients as a physical therapist, counseling those in distress as a deacon in her church, or assisting dogs and their owners as a steadfast member of the Winnemac Dog Park community,  Alice always made a difference.

Alice Perry passed away on April 7, 2018, after a 2-year battle with leukemia.  Alice’s generosity of spirit will live on at Swedish Covenant Hospital, as a member of the Heritage Society.  Heritage Society members are loyal donors who name the hospital as a beneficiary in their estate plans. When Alice passed away, she left the hospital a generous gift for the future.

Alice had a passion for learning and growing in her chosen career as a physical therapist. Working first at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, then RIC (now Ability Lab Home/Shirley Ryan AbilityLab), and finally, at Swedish Covenant Hospital for 15 years, Alice is remembered by colleague Mark Esper, PT, GSC as a lifelong learner, mentor, and someone who cared deeply about patient care and advocacy.   Although kind and humble, Alice was outspoken when it came to patient care and was “willing to question and challenge other clinicians’ approach to care in order to improve the quality here at Swedish”.

This same sentiment is echoed by a life-long friend of Alice’s, SCH’s Director of Rehabilitation Services, Claudia Ann Morehead. Claudia Ann not only was a classmate of Alice’s in physical therapy school, but many years later, worked alongside her at SCH. According to Claudia Ann, Alice always had a passion for learning. During school, not only did she routinely spent extra time in lab sessions to ensure that she had mastered a treatment technique , but she asked her professors so many questions, that she alone would frequently extend the class period to the dismay of her classmates!  Her passion for learning and providing excellent care for her patients followed her into her physical therapy career, where she excelled at assisting those with spinal cord injuries.  She was a meticulous professional, who worked to  obtain advanced certificates , mentored PT students and colleagues and wasn’t afraid to challenge a colleagues’ treatment plan  on behalf of a patient’s care.

Alice Perry’s expertise, passion and commitment to her patients will be greatly missed at Swedish Covenant Hospital, but due to her generosity, the impact of her estate gift will be felt for years to come. To read more donor stories, visit the Foundation website. To learn more about planned giving, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121, email us at: foundation@swedishcovenant.org, or visit the planned giving website at: https://swedishcovenantfoundation.org/planned-giving/

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SCH’s Commitment to Trauma-Informed Care


When you hear the word “trauma” in reference to a hospital patient, you think of physical trauma- such as a broken bone, a deep wound or other serious injury. In reality, both physical AND emotional trauma are pervasive not only among SCH patients but staff as well.  Furthermore, exposure to both physical and/or emotional trauma can impact a person’s overall health for years to come.

Take for example, a bariatric patient with COPD who can trace her issues back to a lifetime of abuse; a nurse who was physically attacked by a patient, and 2 years later, still feels her heart race when she enters a room, or ED staff who care for victims of a horrific accident or crime.  Unlike a physical trauma, the impact of such emotional trauma events are more nuanced and may be harder to detect, but have a significant and lasting impact on patient health and staff wellbeing.

According to Kate Lawler, Director of SCH’s Violence Prevention Program, there is a growing awareness in the medical field that emotional trauma impacts the brain and body in ways previously unrecognized; emotional trauma is often at the root of numerous physical problems.  In an effort to understand and identify how distressing experiences change our bodies and impact our health, SCH recently joined 15 other hospitals in Chicago and the City’s Dept. of Health to create the Trauma-Informed Collaborative– an effort to identify and integrate the knowledge and impact of emotional trauma on health into the hospital’s policies, culture, and methods of care. By making our organization more sensitive to the impact that trauma has on the body and the brain, SCH believes that we can both improve patient health outcomes and better support our staff.

To this end, SCH is offering a series of educational training sessions for managers that focus on identifying and delivering trauma-informed care to patients and staff. As one of the first steps in the rollout of this initiative, these trainings are intended to increase staff awareness of these issues and identify next steps in becoming a truly trauma-informed hospital. With funding provided by the SCH Foundation, training will allow staff to understand and recognize symptoms of traumatic stress, identify ways to minimize staff burnout, and help identify resources for patients and staff that support both physical and emotional healing.

SCH is proud to be on the leading-edge of awareness and education in trauma-informed care. To learn more about the Violence Prevention Program at Swedish Covenant Hospital, at https://www.swedishcovenant.org/community/violence-prevention-program, or contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121.

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Le Cirque Gala to benefit SCH Family Birthing Center


Circus-themed fun and revelry are in store for guests at SCH’s upcoming Le Cirque Annual Gala on October 27, 2018. Co-Chaired by Drs. Angel Rivera and Emily Rubenstein, this year’s event will be held in the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. The gala will feature dining, entertainment sure to amaze, dancing, and a large silent auction with one-of a kind items benefitting SCH’s Family Birthing Center.

With over 2,000 babies born in the hospital’s Family Birthing Center every year, parents are drawn to the Center’s unique combination of home-like comforts, excellent medical care and supportive programming for every stage-from prenatal to postpartum.  Proceeds from this year’s gala will be used to enhance the physical space of the Family Birthing Center and provide innovative community programs and services.

The Family Birthing Center offers a wide-range of assistance for new and expectant parents. Community education classes range from prenatal topics and breastfeeding to parenting techniques. In addition, two of our most popular programs will expand and grow thanks to gala funds; The CenteringPregnancy group (where pregnant mothers learn from, and support one another in a group setting while receiving prenatal care and education from their healthcare providers) and the New Mom’s group (a weekly supportive space for new mothers to connect and share experiences). SCH also offers a variety of counseling services to new and expectant mothers who are experiences anxiety or post-partum depression, including one-on-one and group therapy sessions.  Gala proceeds will support these critical services in the coming year.

New to the Family Birthing Center this year is the Respite Nursery. The Respite Nursery is a safe, staffed space for newborn babies when new mothers need some rest. Maternal exhaustion can interfere with breastfeeding, is a risk factor for maternal post-partum depression and increases the risk of accidents like newborn falls. This monitored nursery is making a difference for new mothers and their babies.

Gala funds will also help support the only hospital-based, outpatient lactation clinic in the entire city of Chicago.  Swedish Covenant Hospital is proud to offer the Breastfeeding Clinic, which provides new mothers access to internationally board-certified lactation consultants and nurse practitioners who provide breastfeeding guidance and assistance during one-on-one, hour long visits.

This year’s gala promises to be the greatest show on Earth! Purchase tickets or visit our online auction at https://one.bidpal.net/schgala and bid on spectacular items and experiences to help support our Family Birthing Center. For more information on the gala or the auction contact Tamara Fouche’ at 773-878-2492.

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