Rush’s Patient and Family Resource Centers

By Anne Millheiser

I am very proud of the fact that Rush has two patient and family resource centers on our campus. I believe this speaks to how important the patient and visitor experience is here and how we want to support our patients and visitors both physically, as well as emotionally. I feel lucky to be a part of enhancing visitor experience through managing these centers.

I have found that visitors are often drawn to both of our centers because they are quiet, comfortable spaces, amidst the often hectic hospital environment. Upon entering the centers, visitors are greeted by a social worker and are often surprised to learn that the centers offer more than just a space to relax.

The resource centers offer information on Rush services, community support, health and wellness topics and the latest research happening at Rush. Additionally, the resource center staff is available to listen to visitors, who at times need to talk about the difficult emotions that they may be experiencing due to changes in their own health or the health of someone close to them.

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‘I Clean These Rooms as if My Grandmama’s Coming’

This is how Claudine Johnson cleans rooms at Rush:

“I don’t come in and get it done and it’s over,” she says. “I look at it and say, my grandmama would be comfortable here.”

And it doesn’t matter how long that takes.

“I’m going to do the extra it takes to make the patient and their families comfortable.”

In the course of a day, Johnson — who works on the 13th floor of the Tower hospital building — says she knows she’ll always have a chance to connect with patients. Some even come back to visit.

“Just the fulfillment of that is enough for me to get up every morning and come here.”

All About Being Baby Friendly

BabyRush is pleased to be part of the international trend toward creating “baby friendly” facilities. Part of being baby friendly means supporting exclusive breastfeeding and creating an environment that encourages bonding with your baby.

We understand breastfeeding can be a challenge, which is why we’re here to help moms and their babies on this journey. Our nurses and lactation consultants are trained to assist new moms and babies with breastfeeding. Ultimately, whether you choose to breastfeed or not is your choice. We are here to support you bonding with your baby whatever your decision.

Skin to Skin During the “Golden Hour”

The “golden hour” is the time immediately after delivery when the baby is dried off and placed directly on mom’s chest with the baby’s skin against mom’s skin, which is called “skin to skin.” Spending this first hour right against mom’s skin makes it much easier for the baby to adapt to the outside world. During this time the mom will be the only one holding the baby. The nurse may check the baby’s vital signs while the mom holds the baby in skin to skin. Visitors can come to see the mom and baby a few hours later.

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Thonar Leaves Legacy of Accessibility at Rush

Eugene_ThonarBy Kevin McKeough

Eugene Thonar, PhD, overcame both a disabling illness and a poor childhood education to become an internationally renowned biochemist and a leader of Rush’s efforts to accommodate the needs of patients, employees and visitors with disabilities. The namesake of Rush’s annual Thonar award and an emeritus professor of biochemistry and orthopedic surgery, Thonar retired in October after 32 years at Rush.

“Rush has been very fortunate that Dr. Thonar spent his entire career here. During that time, he made immense contributions as a researcher, a teacher and mentor, and an advocate for people with disabilities,” says Thomas A. Deutsch, MD, provost of Rush University and dean of Rush Medical College. “His influence can be seen in the design of the Tower and in many other ways that the Medical Center accommodates the needs of people with disabilities. Eugene’s impact in this area will continue to be felt long into the future.”

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Holiday Greetings From Rush


The following is excerpted from Rush’s annual holiday greeting:

Within our busy environment, we strive to create a calming feeling for our patients and ourselves.

There are a number of new spaces within the Tower that offer opportunities for quiet reflection. They include the fourth floor quiet area and the Tower’s rooftop gardens, including the area shown here. In addition, a new space for spiritual reflection and quiet meditation will be opening next year on the Atrium fourth floor.

These areas are an important part of the healing environment we have created in the Medical Center, providing patients, family members and the people who work at Rush with places where they can calm themselves, make plans, and draw on their faith and their inner strength to meet the challenges ahead of them.

We wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and the very best for the New Year.

— Dr. and Mrs. Larry Goodman

Larry Goodman, MD, is CEO of Rush University Medical Center. Photo by Steve Gadomski, Rush Photo Group.

Helping Patients Enjoy FaceTime With Families

By Jaime Parent

Two weeks after the Tower move-in in mid-January, I was exhausted but pleased. Information Services had successfully managed no fewer than 35 projects, all designed to run on over 4 million feet of cable with 5,000 end user devices. Over 22,000 network jacks and 1,200 wireless access points were operational, and all telephonic and system network activity was working seamlessly throughout the building.

Then I got a phone call from Sharon Allen, unit director on 14 East.

“The patient we were discussing has returned for her prolonged stay. She reported to the nursing staff that she is unable to use FaceTime again. Can you help with this situation?”

FaceTime is an Apple application I was familiar with that allows people to participate in a videophone call over a wireless network. Much like the PC application Skype, FaceTime is becoming popular along with the devices it runs on: the Apple Macintosh, iPhone and iPad. Being late in the day and needing little encouragement to see technology in action anyway, I breezed over to 14 East to see how I could help. What I expected was a technology trouble call; what I got was a life lesson.

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Tradition, Transformation and Giving Thanks

By Brad Hinrichs

Thanksgiving Day is a distant memory by now, but one of the best traditions of that holiday comes to mind and seems particularly appropriate to me now. That tradition is to reminisce about what we are particularly grateful for, and as the name of the holiday literally implies, to engage in some “thanks giving” as a result. So let me take a minute to do just that.

I am grateful for the thousands of colleagues at Rush University Medical Center whose commitment to “the patient comes first” seems as strong to me as it did 40 years ago, when I recall that same message being delivered by then-president Dr. James A. Campbell in my new employee orientation session. This guiding principle has been key in making Rush the outstanding patient care organization that it is and has made being affiliated with it for so long such a privilege. Thanks to each and every one of you.

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On the Move: Inside the Rush Command Center

Anne Burgeson (back row, center), in the command center for the move into Rush's new hospital.

By Anne Burgeson

Busy, exhilarating, funny, innovative and LOUD. Those are just a few words to describe the Hospital Incident Command Center at Rush on Sunday, Jan. 8, during our move of about 180 patients to the Tower, the newest hospital building on our campus.

Packed with people, chairs, temporary tables, telephones and computers, the hospital incident command center was the base of operations to manage the move. In what will be a patient labor/delivery room on the eighth floor of the Tower, leaders representing departments from throughout Rush gathered from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m. to handle questions, problem-solve together and oversee all aspects of the move. This was also the place to receive all calls from employees throughout Rush who needed any assistance related to the move.

From simple things like determining how to quickly fix a loose ceiling tile, to more complex issues such as determining why an alarm was activated on a piece of equipment, the group worked together in a truly collaborative way, to make quick, effective, well-informed decisions. Continue reading