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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

COVID-19 in the rehabilitation setting

October 01, 2020

There’s no arguing COVID-19 has altered the way we live and work. For some, that means working and connecting remotely, for others, a face mask has replaced your watch as the accessory you can’t leave home without. At Madonna, COVID-19 may have changed what our care looks like, but it hasn’t changed our approach to rehabilitation or the incredible outcomes our patients experience.

The health and safety of our patients is more important now than ever. Madonna has policies in place to safeguard patients from the virus while also allowing them to participate actively and regularly in rehabilitation. It has been our goal to protect the integrity of our specialized rehabilitative programs to ensure all patients, whether they are recovering from traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, major-multiple trauma, amputation, burn or other serious injury or illness, receive the amount of therapy they need for a successful outcome.

In addition to the now-standard precautions most hospitals across the country are taking—mandatory mask use for patients, staff and approved visitors, protective eyewear for clinical staff, visitor restrictions—Madonna has also integrated new and creative ways to provide patients with the help and support they need. Whether it’s relying on technology to participate in a virtual home assessment or following up with an acute care doctor over Zoom.

Preparing for rehabilitative care—or any type of hospital care—during a pandemic is no easy task. Madonna has been fortunate to be shepherded by our vice president of medical affairs and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Stalder, an infectious disease specialist with nearly 40 years of experience, 10 of which have been at Madonna. Dr. Stalder was recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service for his outstanding medical service to people with HIV/AIDS in 1992. He currently serves on Madonna’s infection control committee and is integral in the hospital’s decision-making processes surrounding COVID-19.

More than preventative measures to keep the virus out of the hospital, Dr. Stalder and Madonna have taken a proactive approach to stand ready to admit post-COVID patients to Madonna or isolate patients who may become symptomatic. Our campuses in both Lincoln and Omaha are both equipped with negative pressure rooms to house these patients, and have strict droplet precautions in place for staff to effectively treat and provide therapy to those patients as needed. For post-COVID patients, and for others needing 24-hour respiratory care, Madonna provides respiratory therapy and is also specialized in vent weaning, in addition to being both a Passy-Muir and Vapotherm Center of Excellence.

COVID-19 continues to challenge the healthcare industry, but Madonna continues to adapt and adjust. Our adaptability is critical so that those who rely on us to reclaim their independence can receive the life-giving care we provide.