RIC Matters 2014-11-19 - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC Matters 2014-11-19

Quote of the Week

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Winston Churchill

Back Issues

To find previous issues, go to our Index of RIC Matters back issues.


U.S. Women’s Sled Hockey Team Wins International Cup With Help of RIC Player

The U.S. Women's Sled Hockey team, with the help of RIC’s very own Erica Mitchell (right), became the first team to win the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Ice Sled Hockey Women's International Cup in Canada last week.

The U.S. team’s 5-1 victory over Canada put them a step closer to entry into the Paralympic Games. Mitchell, who also plays for the RIC Blackhawks, scored a goal in the final game, helping secure her team’s win.

Mitchell has been a member of the RIC Caring For Kids Program, and is currently an intern for RIC’s Therapeutic Recreation Department.

She will soon graduate from Chicago State University with her degree in Therapeutic Recreation.

Canada, the United States and a team representing Europe participated in the inaugural international tournament, which was sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee. In addition, the U.S. Women’s Sled Hockey Team has been inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. Congratulations to Erica Mitchell! 

Patients Groove to Wii Dancing

The patients on the 6th floor General Rehabilitation Unit are building their strength and endurance through participation in a weekly Wii Dance group.

Patients at all levels of ability participate in their wheelchairs, sitting on the mat tables or upright in the parallel bars to ensure active strengthening, coordination, endurance and fun during their scheduled therapy group.

The Wii Dance group meets regularly, and is run by Sara Vernaglia, OT, who has patients focusing on occupational therapy specific goals, and by Bridget Fowler, PT, who has patients striving towards their physical therapy specific goals.

Sara and Bridget create a synergy of floor participation by engaging in the Wii Dance group, enabling all patients to work towards increasing their abilities.

Northwestern Basketball Team Visits Patients

The Northwestern University Men’s Basketball Team, including players and coaches, paid a surprise visit to RIC’s inpatients and family members last week.

The patients were at a routine Adapted Sports Day, hosted by staff from the RIC Sports and Fitness Programs and Therapeutic Recreation Department, when the Wildcats arrived.

Many inpatient allied health staff members helped facilitate the event. Patients, NU basketball players and coaches participated in many adapted sports activities including shooting baskets, ladder golf, bag toss and impromptu wheelchair races.

A variety of sports chairs also were available for patients and NU Basketball players and coaches to try. The NU Basketball players and coaches brought NU T-shirts and posters of the basketball team, which players autographed for patients and family members.

On Wednesday December 3, at 8:15 p.m., our own RIC Hornets Wheelchair Basketball Team will scrimmage at half time when Northwestern University takes on Georgia Tech. For more information about purchasing tickets, contact Derek Daniels at ddaniels@ric.org  or at ext. 8-5008.

For more photos from the Wildcats visit, click the arrows below.











Health and Fitness Center Offers Tips on Eating Healthy During Holidays

Members of the RIC Health and Fitness Center recently participated in an educational session and discussion on healthy eating led by clinical dietitian Kelly Niemaszyk.

Those who attended the session learned about helpful strategies for surviving the upcoming seasonal festivities without packing on the extra pounds and making the holiday season a healthy one.

It was a great opportunity to share healthy nutrition tips and recipes that can help members make smart choices for planning their holiday menus.

Here are some of the healthy tips they learned:

Eating at holiday parties - Don't starve yourself beforehand. Eat a small, low calorie meal or snack so you aren't tempted to overeat. Offer to bring a healthy dish like a vegetable platter or lightly dressed salad. Fill up on the “good for you” items first. Try to stand more than an arm’s length away from snacks. Don’t rush to the food, and focus on socializing instead. Limit the total number of foods you put on your plate.

Reduce calories without sacrificing taste – Gravy: If you have time, make the gravy ahead, refrigerate and skim off the fat. Turkey: Remove the skin, use gravy sparingly. If you need more moisture and taste, try cranberry sauce. With mashed potatoes, use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic, and Parmesan instead of butter or sour cream.

Desserts - Try using half whole wheat flour and half white flour in baking. Portion out desserts ahead of time into small serving sizes so people can sample but aren’t tempted to eat a large serving. Eggnog: Use half to ¾ parts low-fat or skim milk and one part eggnog to reduce calories.

Brain Injury Program Hosts Halloween-Themed Disaster Preparedness Session

The Brain Injury Program recently hosted Dr. Korak Sarkar for a Halloween-themed staff education session on disaster preparedness.

Dr. Sarkar’s presentation, “Zombies, Zombie Apocalypse, and Disaster Management” was held on November 4 for an audience that included nursing, allied health and medical staff, as well as colleagues from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

 Dr. Sarkar described the mythology surrounding zombies and their historical basis in medical literature and culture. He also discussed actual disasters that have perpetuated the myths. Hurricane Katrina was an example of poor disaster preparedness, and Dr. Sarkar talked about the ensuing challenges from the hurricane from a healthcare and bioethical perspective.

Dr. Sarkar closed the session with recommendations for disaster preparedness for individuals and their families.

Patients View Documentary on Paralympic Sled Hockey Team

RIC patients recently received a private screening of the movie “Ice Warriors,” a documentary about the 2014 Men’s Paralympic Sled hockey team, and the team’s journey to the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi Russia.

Team USA took the gold medal in Sochi, and two of the featured athletes in the movie are members of RIC's sled hockey team, the Blackhawks. This PBS special aired for the first time last week.

The Therapeutic Recreation Department and RIC Sports collaborated to host this event for the Spinal Cord Injury Program. Our emcees for the evening were Kevin McKee, 2014 team USA Paralympian, and Erica Mitchell, current women's Team USA sled hockey world champion. Kevin brought his gold medal and patients had the opportunity to hold and wear it.

Adaptive Rock Climbing Program to Hold Volunteer Training

Want to learn to rock climb? Already a climber? Want to help those with a primary physical disability reach new heights? The RIC Adaptive Climbing Program is in search of volunteers. No previous climbing experience is necessary, just an interest in learning.

RIC Sports will host an Adaptive Rock Climbing Volunteer Training on Monday, November 24, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Vertical Endeavors, 28141 Diehl Road, Warrenville, Ill. Vertical Endeavors is located inside of Lifetime Fitness, so parking is free and the building is easy to find.

 To sign up for the training, please visit: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1882003/ricadaptiveclimbing. If you’re interested in the program, but cannot make the training or are interested in opportunities closer to Chicago, please email Jason Stubbeman directly at jstubbeman@ric.org or call ext. 8-5010.

Access Employee Information Through ADP Portal

The ADP portal is the best place to find employee information.  Personal employee data is no longer available on RIC Connect.

Please remember to go to the ADP Portal to update your personal information including emergency contacts and federal tax withholdings under the Myself tab.

Managers can find information for their direct reports under the My Team tab. 


RIC Insider


Happy Holidays – Employee Celebrations Scheduled

The 2014 holiday season is fast approaching. Once again, RIC will host a celebration for employees on all shifts at Superior St. on Thursday, December 11, and on Friday, December 12.

The day shift will celebrate on Thursday with lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The evening shift will make merry at dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The night shift party will take place from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Friday, December 12. All parties will be held in the Heyworth Rooms on the second floor of the Flagship.

The celebrations include employees at the Flagship, Onterie, Voc Rehab and the Fitness Center.  Each of the clinics will host their own celebration with their employees.

2015 Benefits Open Enrollment Underway

RIC’s 2015 Benefits Open Enrollment period is currently underway through November 28. This is a once-per-year opportunity to make changes to your benefits plan. If you want to continue your current medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage as it is today, no action is required.

During this time, you can:

  • Add or cancel coverage for yourself and your dependents, or switch medical/dental insurance plans by completing the 2015 Enrollment Form
  • Enroll in a Health Care or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for 2015
  • Apply to purchase additional voluntary life insurance or enroll for short-term disability insurance. For more information, please email benefits@ric.org or call 312-238-4138.

These changes must be submitted to HR by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 28.

If you participate in our Commuter Flexible Spending Account, please be aware that this benefit will change in spring 2015. The Commuter Flexible Spending Account (FSA) will change from a one month to a two month pre-fund process, beginning with the April 2015 payroll deduction which will fund June 2015 transit/parking passes. There will be a one month ramp up period associated with this change, meaning transit/parking orders for May 2015 will not be funded by April 2015 payroll deductions.  You can increase your monthly pre-tax contribution (not to exceed the pre-tax limits of $130.00 for Transit and $250.00 for Parking) in the months preceding the transition so you will have residual funds to cover your May passes.

  • Example: If your monthly pass costs $80.00, increase your monthly payroll deductions to $100.00 from December 2014 to March 2015. This will result in a residual Commuter FSA balance of $80.00 that can be used to fund May 2015 passes.
  • Please refer to the 2015 Commuter FSA change planning document for additional information. 


Please use the following resources to assist you during Benefits Open Enrollment:

  • A meeting calendar of benefits open enrollment informational meetings and enrollment support sessions at RIC clinic locations and the flagship hospital
  • A 2015 benefits booklet that can be used as a quick guide for your RIC benefits
  • A 2015 enrollment form to review 2015 rates and mark any medical, dental, and vision coverage changes

For those who are unable to attend onsite meetings, we will also be conducting a webinar on Thursday, November 20th from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Follow this link to participate: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/453175965   Then dial 630-581-0238. The PIN is 501595.

If you have any questions about RIC’s benefits or the Benefits Open Enrollment process, please contact benefits@ric.org or Mike Manthey at 312-238-4138.

Flu Shots Available

The Joint Commission and CDC mandate that all healthcare professionals be vaccinated against seasonal influenza this fall.  In order to comply with the Joint Commission and CDC guidelines, RIC has made flu shots mandatory for all clinical staff.  Clinical staff is defined as all staff who work in patient care areas, including inpatient, outpatient and Day Rehab facilities. The only accepted declination for clinical staff is a written statement from a physician or religious leader stating that vaccination is contraindicated. 

Flu shots are free to all RIC employees, contractors and volunteers and will be available in Employee Health throughout the remainder of the flu season.  The Employee Occupational Health Services clinic is located in room 1616.  Hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.   Please bring your I.D. badge.

Evening, night and weekend staff should contact the House Supervisor to schedule a mutually convenient time.

Kim Dellutri, Employee Health Nurse, will schedule flu shots for the clinic locations with the clinical managers.

Anyone who receives a 2014/2015 seasonal flu vaccination at a facility other than RIC must provide documentation to Employee Health that it has been completed.

So…get vaccinated against influenza and stay home if you are sick. You will recover faster if you take action at the onset of symptoms.

Cold and flu viruses can spread quickly and may adversely impact your department’s productivity and staffing. The best and most effective way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. Hand washing also is an effective way to help prevent the spread of germs and illness, so please remember to wash your hands and use hand sanitzer.

If you have any questions, please contact Kim Dellutri, Employee Health Nurse, at kdellutri@ric.org or extension 8-6296. Thank you.

Sprout Café Offers “Home for the Holidays” Treats

Hosting a party this holiday season? Need some dessert ideas? The Sprout Café is now offering delicious whole pies or scrumptious cookies for you to take home for the holidays.

We will be offering a variety of pies, including pumpkin, apple, pecan, as well as cookies by the dozen, including chocolate chip, M&M, peanut butter, oatmeal and double chocolate chip.

Place your order today by submitting the order form to a cafeteria manager. If you are curious about these delicious treats, join us for a free sampling tomorrow, November 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. just outside the Sprout Café on the 2nd floor. Hope to see you there!

LIFE Center Shares Resources for November Health Awareness

The LIFE Center would like to share a list of resources with employees, patients and families to promote National Family Caregiver Month and National Diabetes Awareness Month.

For access to the list of resources, please click here.

RIC Matters Submission Deadline

The deadline to submit articles and announcements for RIC Matters is Monday at noon if you want them published in the following Wednesday’s newsletter. If you plan to submit photos, please make sure that patients and non-employees sign photo release forms. Please remember if your articles are time sensitive to submit them as early as possible to: RICMatters@ric.org. Thanks! 

Superior Street Sprout Café Menu

Please click here to access the Superior Street Sprout Café menu.

Prepare for the Great American Smokeout Tomorrow

The Great American Smokeout is tomorrow, November 20. You may be nervous about quitting, but you can do it! Here are some tips on how to prepare:

  • Download special badges and cards from www.cancer.org/smokeout, and let your friends, family, and colleagues know what you’re going through and how they can help.
  • Get rid of all the tobacco, cigarettes, and ashtrays in your home and car.
  • Practice saying, “No, thank you. I don’t smoke/chew.”
  • Set-up a support system. This could be family or friends who have successfully quit and are willing to help you. Ask family and friends who still use tobacco not to do it around you and not leave cigarettes or tobacco out where you can see them.

Remember, there is no one right way to quit – do whatever works for you!

The Prince Family Esprit! Program is here to help. Come to the Sprout Café any time on November 20 for information on quitting tobacco and resources to help you on your journey. Off-site locations will receive materials as well.

The Prince Family Esprit! Program also provides a free tobacco cessation program to our employees. The program, Quit For Life, is designed to help you build new skills to think differently about tobacco through online tools, a printed workbook, and toll-free access to expert Quit Coaches®.

If you want to get a head start with the Quit for Life Tobacco Cessation Program, you can enroll in the following ways:

  • Call 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE (866-784-8454)
  • Visit https://www.quitnow.net. When you log on to the site, select “Enroll Now” at the top of the page. You will be taken to an enrollment site. Select RIC (or Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) from the drop-down menu under “Select Your Employer” and then select your health plan from the drop-down menu under “Select Your Health Plan.” Enter your home zip code and press “Submit Form” to get started.

The program is free for RIC employees; however, knowing that quitting is often a collaborative effort, the program is also open to RIC employees’ dependents for $375 per person.

For more information about Quit For Life or the Great American Smokeout, please contact Stephanie Adams at ext. 8-6291 or sadams@ric.org

Welcome New RIC Team Members

Julie Knippen – Registry Rehabilitation Aide, Flex Staff

Krystal Kumpula – Registry Care Manager, Flex Staff

Christian Lopez – Central Supply Technician

Mackenzie Riebel – Physical Therapist, Flex Staff

Sharon Song – Registry Psychologist, Flex Staff

Jennifer Vyenielo – Executive Assistant, SVP Research, Chief Scientific Officer

Jesus Vasquez – Contract Public Safety Officer, Security

Logan Chapman – Marketing Contractor

Malek Adouni – Post Doctoral Fellow, Research – Sensory Motor Performance Program