RIC Matters 2015-05-13 - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC Matters 2015-05-13

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.


Employees Honored during Nurses Week for Compassionate Care

Two employees were honored with special awards to celebrate their work and dedication to patients as part of RIC’s Nurses Week activities last Thursday.

Kristen Gracz, the Clinical Nurse Leader on the Patient Recovery Unit, won the Nancy B. Holt Nursing Excellence Award.

“Her practice exemplifies RIC values as it is collaborative, compassionate and consistently demonstrates a commitment to excellence,” a colleague wrote to the nominating committee.

Gracz (pictured above left, with Laura Ferrio, VP Patient Services & Chief Nurse Executive) is known for her leadership and willingness to mentor other nurses. “Her coworkers enjoy working with her because they know she is a proactive nurse who believes no task is too big or too small to command her time and focus,” her colleague wrote.

Another colleague wrote that Gracz has gone “above and beyond” in working toward better patient education practices and “is able to provide compassionate care while still pushing her patients to achieve greater ability…”

Stephanie Berrey, (right) a Patient Care Technician on the Spinal Cord Unit, won the Remarkable Image of Caring Award.

“Her cheery attitude and optimistic personality make a difference when she is interacting both with staff and patients,” wrote one colleague. “She makes patients laugh, offers comfort when patients are having a difficult day and makes patients feel at home during the most difficult times of their recovery.”

The colleague also wrote that Berrey has a huge heart. “You can tell she enjoys what she does and truly cares about her patients.”

Congratulations to both winners for their devotion to patient care. For a full list of nominees, please click here.

HBB Innovation Awards Competitors Thinking Outside the Box

With the Henry B. Betts, MD, Innovation Awards just one week away, Team Ability has been doing some heavy thinking about how to outsmart its competitors.

In fact, the team members have likened their deep pondering over this year’s challenge to the “The Thinker” at the Rodin Museum in Paris.

While keeping many of their thoughts secret, the team is one of three competing to create a unique “after hours” space for patients and families at RIC’s Ability Institute.

In previous issues of RIC Matters, we met Team edAbility and The Conference Center Team. These teams have been doing some heavy thinking, as well, as they put the finishing touches on their projects for next week’s battle.

Here’s a brief report from Team Ability:

During the last few months, we’ve been intensely focused on looking for creative ways to use the space where the Ability Labs will be located.

Coming up with innovative ideas for that space takes a lot of brainpower. That’s why we’ve been in our “thinking” posture for so long. We’ve been thinking so hard, in fact, that our heads are hurting from so much brain activity.

The most fun part about putting together our proposal has been thinking outside of the box – way outside the box and into another time zone. We’re excited about driving innovation and coming up with strategies to bring all of our winning ideas together.

We’ve embraced the saying: “Human Performance Rocks.”

Pictured from left to right are team members Kellie Rush, Derek Daniels, Jason Barbas, Glenn Paustian, Kylene Canham, Sally Taylor, David Miller and David Gharib.

Please join us for the Final Show on May 20 at 3 p.m. in the Heyworth Rooms to hear all the details about our project when they’re unveiled.

Stroke Awareness Month Activities

May is Stroke Awareness Month, and RIC will be offering special activities and educational opportunities for patients and their families.

Kelly Niemaszyk, one of our dieticians, will host a talk and cooking demonstration on “Healthy Eating “on Thursday, May 14 in the 8th floor dining room.

On Friday, May 29, the 8th floor Speech and Language Pathologists, with help from our TREC therapist Whitney Lingafelter, will be hosting “Stroke Jeopardy,” in which we will test our patients’ knowledge of stroke risk factors and other stroke facts.

The times for both events are still to be determined, and there is limited space. Please contact Holly Paczan, 8th floor Program Specialist, with any questions about these or other activities this month. She can be reached at 312-238-4525 or hpaczan@ric.org.

Also, we encourage staff to wear their Stroke Awareness Month t-shirts or something red every Friday in May. On May 29, there will be a friendly competition between the 8th and 9th floor staff about which team is wearing the most red. The winning floor will receive a bagel party and the honor of displaying the “Brain Trophy” on their floor for one year.

The 8th floor Occupational Therapists have already hosted a special group event for patients to tie dye t-shirts red so that patients can also participate in “Wear Red” Fridays in May.

Vocal Lessons: Having a Healthy Voice

During the course of the day, many of us do a lot of talking on the job. As we find ourselves conversing with patients, families, coworkers and students, it’s common to get in the habit of poor vocal health.

We can all benefit by resting our voices, drinking more water and avoiding certain irritants to keep our voices healthy.

As Better Speech and Hearing Month continues, RIC’s Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) Advocacy Committee wants to share some strategies to help improve and maintain a healthy voice.

For complete list of tips, please click here.

Bike to Work Week Coming Soon

The Prince Family Esprit! Program is pleased to announce its second annual Bike to Work Week. In conjunction with Chicago’s Bike Commuter Challenge, RIC’s Bike to Work week is from June 12-19.

In addition to participating in Chicago’s Bike Commuter Challenge, RIC’s Prince Family Esprit! Program will sponsor events and giveaways throughout the week, including a raffle for a bike helmet, Fitbit, and more. Every Bike to Work week participant will receive an information packet with bike route maps, biking and bike safety information and reflective stickers. Registration information is forthcoming.

And remember, team RIC, when you ride, always, ALWAYS wear your helmet, be sure it is fastened securely and fits you well.

For more information about RIC’s Bike to Work Week, please contact Laura Falgoust in Human Resources at lfalgoust@ric.org or 312-238-6238.

Nurses Cook Up Meals at Ronald McDonald House

A group of RIC nurses and PCTs last week prepared meals for families staying at the nearby Ronald McDonald House.

The Ronald McDonald House “Meal from the Heart” is an annual (soon to be semi-annual) event in which RIC nurses and PCTs from all floors participate, and is hosted by the Recruitment and Retention Committee.

The group raises money and prepares meals for families staying at the House, located at 211 E. Grand Ave., while their family members are in the hospital.

This year’s Polish-themed meal coincided with Nurses Week, and was planned as part of the celebration. The next event will be held in the fall. Special thanks to Danielle Niedbalec, RN, for organizing the event.

RIC Hosts Adaptive Archery Program for Injured Veterans

The RIC Sports Adaptive Archery Program hosted the RIC Veteran Archery Challenge on Saturday at the Blackwell Forest Preserve Olympic Archery Range in DuPage County.

One of the top USA Archery instructors, MJ Rogers, along with other area professionals, instructed a group of 16 injured veterans from around the Chicago area. Skill levels ranged from a first-time shooter to a Team USA hopeful.

The day included instructional clinics and competition shooting at distances of 10 meters and 20 meters.

RIC Sports is always looking for individuals to assist with the adaptive archery program. If interested, please contact Jason Stubbeman at 312-238-5010 or jstubbeman@ric.org. No previous archery experience is needed, and training will be provided. Practices are held on Wednesday evenings from 7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Archery Bow Range Chicago, 1757 N. Kimball Ave., Chicago.

For more photos of the archery event, please click here.

RIC Handcycling, Road Racing Teams Compete Despite Rain

The RIC Handcycle and Road Racing Teams traveled to Grand Rapids, MI, this past weekend for the 36th annual River Bank Run, competing in a grueling event in pouring rain.

The team took on a field of 46 handcyclists and 10 wheelchair racers, with some team members competing in their first race event. Not even Mother Nature could slow these athletes down, and the entire team did a great job.

Up next for these athletes is Bike the Drive on May 24, and then the Glencoe Grand Prix on May 30. For a complete list of race results, please click here.

RIC Insider


Information Session: Exercise and Cancer Treatment

What: The Essentials of Exercise during and After Cancer Treatment

When: May 27, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: RIC’s Health and Fitness Center - 541 N. Fairbanks Ct., Mezzanine Level

The session is open to all who have been affected by cancer – patients and families. To register for this free session and for questions, please call 312-238-5013.

RIC Sports & Fitness Calendar

For the latest information on sports and fitness events, 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.

Welcome New RIC Team Members

Emilia Baczek – Clinical Dietician, Food Service

Mary Pat Barbarie –Director, Individual Giving, Advancement

Brian Bocka – Nurse Intern, Spinal Cord Injury Unit

Maria Cantu-Marcano – Call Center Representative

Rachel Champagne – Nurse Intern, Flex Staff

Rachael Condon – Nurse Intern, General Rehabilitation Unit

Claire Curran – Nurse Intern, Stroke Unit

Tomas Cyvas – Nurse Intern, Center for Pain Management

Sadaf Dhorajiwala – Nurse Intern, Outpatient Physician Clinics

Sydney Fox – Nurse Intern, Stroke Unit

Megan Gryga – Nurse Intern, Pediatric Nursing Unit

Lorrie Mamich – Nurse Intern, Medically Complex Unit

Sarah McCarter – Nurse Intern, Brain Injury Unit

Sierra Neuharth – Nurse Intern, Brain Injury Unit

Jennifer Palmer – Registered Nurse, Stroke Unit

Sarah Perkins - Patient Service Manager, Food Service

Sarah Pustai – Nurse Intern, Spinal Cord Injury Unit

Sang Qin – Student, Vocational Rehabilitation

Sarah Sandmann – Nurse Intern, Pediatric Nursing

Elizabeth Schleich – Nurse Intern, Medically Complex Unit

Kersten Schmidt – Nurse Intern, Patient Recovery Unit

Samantha Sellke – Nurse Intern, Patient Recovery Unit

Jongsang Son – Post-Doctoral Fellow Research, Sensory Motor Performance Program

Erin Walaszek – Program Specialist (Allied Health), Medically Complex Unit

Amy Watt – Physical Therapist, Outpatient

Tobey Demott Yeates – Registry Physical Therapist, Willowbrook Outpatient Clinic