Employees at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network are taking ideas and turning them into concrete tools and actions.
Emily Lyter, administrative director of Good Shepherd Learns, Creates and Research at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, said the network is looking to harness employees’ enthusiasm, natural curiosity and deep dedication by offering them an opportunity to research their ideas and turn them into actionable plans that can help patients get better.
To that end, the initial Good Shepherd Innovation Grant of $200,000 provides financial support and development opportunities for projects that may define the future of rehabilitation, she said.
The project got underway in July. Lyter said all employees, whether clinical or nonclinical, have the opportunity to apply for the program which provides mentorships that enable employees to learn about business plans and technology.
“We want to support our employees and their ideas,” she said. “The grants provide them with the opportunity to engage in research they may not otherwise be able to.”
Good Shepherd collaborates with colleges and other research facilities. The first round of projects involves 45 employees with two project coaches.
One example, Lyter cited, is pressure mapping to determine the best way to sit in a chair. “If you sit in a chair too long, pressure can increase,” she said. “There is no information right now, so a team is looking at how long a person can sit in a position before issues arise.”
Another project is looking at how art can be used as a therapy tool, especially for younger patients. Lyter said in occupational therapy, often a patient is asked to move pegs around a board. “Many are not engaged in this,” she said. “But if they can dance or paint, they will be engaged, and outcomes will be improved.”
Artists teach therapists to use art to make tasks meaningful. Lyter said this is being looked at for autism patients to improve the social connection as well. “It’s fun and serves a purpose,” she said.
The program is geared toward engaging employees and allowing them to grow by teaching them how to go about developing an idea as well as creating new concepts and tools.
Lyter said when an employee or group of employees have an idea, the grant allows them to develop preliminary data. They write a business plan and then can apply for outside funding to continue developing the data, she said.
The coaches help with creating the business plan and grant writing – anything the project needs. “This helps employees grow and learn new things. This is about the individual. We have a lot of caring people and without this program, their ideas would have nowhere to go.”
Lyter said Good Shepherd patients rely on technology to function. That can be as low key as using devices such as an Alexa for text to speech to high tech equipment like robots that can help feed someone.
Many of the projects in the second round of grants will focus on improving or creating technology such as this, she said.
“The program is paying off,” Lyter said. “We expect it will continue to grow because the projects address real needs.”
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network put Sharpie to steel on Wednesday afternoon, signing the final steel beam that will “top off” Good Shepherd’s under-construction rehabilitation hospital.
At 23 feet long, it is the final beam to be added to the rehabilitation hospital, which is slated to open in Center Valley in June 2023.
As part of the beam-signing festivities, which were held at the Hyland Center for Health & Technology on Good Shepherd’s South Allentown campus, Good Shepherd Chaplain Kelly Brooks blessed the beam.
In addition to employees, members of Good Shepherd’s Hope Starts Here capital campaign committee, board of trustees, elected officials, community partners and others also participated in the signing.
“I want to thank each and every associate who is here today, as well as our colleagues working at sites throughout the Network,” Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network President & CEO Michael Spigel said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here, it’s that Good Shepherd has a very large, very passionate base of supporters, who will do everything in their power to ensure Good Shepherd is here to serve the community for another 100-plus years. We cannot do what we do without all of you.”
Located in Center Valley across from The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, the four-story, 76-private-room rehabilitation hospital will focus on providing highly specialized, complex care and serve as the anchor of an all-encompassing destination campus.
Good Shepherd’s new hospital will provide advanced inpatient rehabilitation services to people seeking care for stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury and other complex conditions.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network has moved its Schnecksville outpatient site to a new location that offers more treatment space for patients seeking physical therapy and other rehabilitation services in North Whitehall Township.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation’s new location, 4909 Route 873, is less than two miles away from its former site at 4110 Independence Drive. The 3,900-square-foot location is in the Mary Ann Plaza, next to Fresenius Kidney Care and Wendy’s.
The site offers private treatment rooms and state-of-the-art exercise and therapy equipment to serve people with injuries, illnesses or chronic conditions, according to a Good Shepherd statement.
“We’re excited to bring this brand-new treatment space to the North Whitehall Township community,” said Karen Long, Good Shepherd’s vice president of operations for outpatient therapy. “Good Shepherd has a long history of providing high quality and compassionate care in Schnecksville, and we are eager to continue that legacy in a larger, more convenient space for our patients and families.”
Led by David Blum, site manager, the Schnecksville team specializes in treating musculoskeletal problems, such as back and neck pain, sprains and strains, fractures, joint replacements, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD/TMJ), headaches and arthritis, as well as caring for people recovering from stroke, brain injury and other neurological conditions. Programs and services include orthopedic rehabilitation, neurorehabilitation, physical therapy, and occupational health rehabilitation for injured workers.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network has moved two of its outpatient sites in Bethlehem and Bethlehem Township to offer more treatment space for physical therapy and other rehabilitation services.
In Bethlehem, the Eaton Avenue center moved to 41 E. Elizabeth Avenue in Bethlehem, one mile away, across from Moravian University’s athletic fields. The Bethlehem Township Highfield Drive center is now at 3859 Nazareth Pike. The new location is south of Rt. 191 and 22 in the Bethlehem Plaza Shopping Center.
“We’ve added space, made parking easier and are more visible for patients to find us and receive the care they need to get back to living their lives with family, friends and fellow community members,” said Karen Long, Good Shepherd’s vice president of operations for outpatient therapy.
Teams at both sites specialize in treating musculoskeletal problems, such as back and neck pain, sprains and strains, fractures, joint replacements, sports injuries and arthritis, as well as caring for people recovering from stroke, brain injury and other neurological conditions.
Jeanne Dzurenko has joined Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network as senior vice president, chief nursing officer.
A health-care executive with more than 25 years of experience in advancing patient outcomes and promoting nursing excellence in small hospital settings and large academic health systems, Dzurenko oversees Good Shepherd’s nursing, patient safety, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, infection prevention, quality and regulatory compliance, education, wound care, staffing and float pool teams. Dzurenko serves on Good Shepherd’s Senior Leadership Team.
Prior to joining Good Shepherd, Dzurenko was administrator at Lehigh Valley Health Network, where she was responsible for discharge planning at seven acute-care hospitals and orthopedic surgical centers.
Prior to joining LVHN in 2018, Jeanne held executive positions at One City Health, a subsidiary of NYC Health and Hospitals; Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, West Islip, NY; and New York University. While working for NYU, Dzurenko served as the director of nursing at Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Glass front facades, fireplaces in the lounges, stone and wood surround comfortable seating areas and spacious cafes with lots of light for relaxing dining greet patients and family members when they enter the hospital.
Long gone are the sterile, whitewashed, disinfectant smelling institutions of hospitals past.
Local architects say those built since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 have been designed for patient, family and staff comfort.
“Hospitals are more like hotels,” said Joe Dougherty, principal healthcare, behavioral health for FCArchitects, Philadelphia, who works with Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network. “They now have cafes and restaurants because the emphasis is on family comfort.”
Even before the pandemic hit, Dougherty said the increase in cleanliness is not only in the materials used to build new facilities, but the air quality is better. “The emphasis is on the environment and what it can do for the patients,” he said.
“At St. Luke’s (University Health Network), we connect the design to the local community,” said Elizabeth Shrock, project manager and interior design coordinator for the network. “We’ve reached out to the local communities, the local artists to personalize the campus.”
All of St. Luke’s facilities have a common theme with color and texture, but each facility shows off artwork and décor that fits with the community. The Carbon campus, for example, has antique skis because it’s close to a ski resort.
Overall, she said, the design utilizes softer seating, color palettes that are shades of blue, although not pastel. “We use navy, indigo and other shades because they are calming, peaceful colors. They are classic and timely when used with earth tones.”
Jennifer Fink, senior healthcare designer/planner for BDA Architects, Bethlehem, who works with local healthcare organizations, said the patient experience and convenience is the driving force behind the designs. “When you pull up to the entrance to a hospital you immediately get a visual. The entrance points, parking and valet parking are all visible and easy to find. No more parking garages.”
Once inside, Fink said most facilities have greeters or receptionists that say “Hi” and direct patients where to go so they can get where they need to be in an efficient manner.
All three said the layout of the hospital has changed, making outpatient testing easier for patients. Shrock said the cafeterias, laboratories and outpatient procedure areas are located near the main entrance to help patients navigate where they are going.
“It’s all about getting to the right people at the right time at the right place,” Fink said. “We want patients to have an experience.”
Patients aren’t the only focus in new designs, they said. Families and staff are taken into consideration. All new rooms are private, and many are designed to allow a family member to stay overnight. The lounge areas, once called waiting rooms, are designed to make family members comfortable.
For the staff, larger lounges with lots of windows to bring in natural light are built in so staff can take breaks in comfort. Some are even called zen rooms.
Fink said the natural light helps staff relax on breaks. “There are also walking paths and gardens where people can eat outside and get fresh air. This is particularly important for those working 12-hour shifts. It can make all the difference,” she said.
Dougherty said too that ergonomics have changed. “There are permanent lifts in each room to keep staff from having to lift patients. Lifts have been around for a long time, but they are being used more now.”
Hospitals, he said, “used to do more for less. They have seen that is not the way to go. When you spend more money, you see more market share.”
Also in the new designs is modern technology. While it is behind the main scene, technology helps nurses because patient records are always at hand. “There are no paper files that they used to have to look for,” Dougherty said.
“Electronics takes the guess work out of caring for patients, especially with medications. The patients’ arm bands are scanned to match their medications, and everything goes right to billing so nurses can focus on care,” he said.
The rooms are also equipped to be user friendly. “You are going to see a lot more of this in the next few years,” he said. With technology like Alexa and Google, patients can use voice commands to close blinds, turn on televisions and even call the nurse.
“We want every advantage we can get. We want to care for patients and be competitive at the same time,” she said. “It makes sense for everyone and keeps re-admissions down.”
Fink said the shift towards patient convenience, while seen in all hospitals today, is why so many hospitals are being built. The idea, she said, is patients don’t have to travel far distances to get medical help because the hospital has come to their neighborhood.
“This is a fundamental shift. Outpatient centers are being built everywhere for the patients’ convenience.” If the patient doesn’t need to be in a hospital, he or she can go to an outpatient center close to home.
The same amenities are applied in the outpatient centers to make people feel calmer and more comfortable, said Fink.
The outside area, however, is not as important for the outpatient facilities because people come and go. The emphasis on outside space, they said, is focused on the hospital sites where family, staff and even patients need time outside to breathe.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital, Allentown, and its inpatient Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem have been recertified for three years.
The recertification by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) include:
Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs – Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital, Allentown (Adults) · Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs – Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Emily Howatt Pliskatt Pediatric Unit, Bethlehem (Pediatric Specialty Program)
Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs – Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital: Amputation Specialty Program (Adults)
Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs – Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital: Brain Injury Specialty Program (Adults)
Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs – Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital: Spinal Cord System of Care (Adults)
Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs – Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital: Stroke Specialty Program (Adults)
“CARF accreditation is the gold standard for rehabilitation providers,” said Michael Spigel, president & CEO of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network. “Organizations receiving accreditation undergo a rigorous peer-review process and demonstrate to a team of surveyors that their program is of the highest quality. Our six accreditations are but one way we separate Good Shepherd from other rehabilitation hospitals and units.”
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital, 850 S. 5th Street, has been accredited by CARF since 1983. CARF is an independent, non-profit accrediting organization, which works to ensure that high standards of care and quality are met by its accredited inpatient rehabilitation providers.
Building on a history of embracing technology, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network’s new hospital in Center Valley is being designed as a cutting-edge facility.
Although the hospital won’t be ready to open until late in the first quarter of 2023, plans are underway to bring the newest technology to Lehigh Valley.
Michael Spigel, Good Shepherd president and CEO, said the hospital has a long history of being early users of the newest technology. “When we began the designs, we wanted to expand on our history and willingness to use new technology,” he said.
Through the design process the hospital brought frontline workers to the table, Spigel said. Those workers helped develop the operation by giving input based on personal experience working with patients at the current hospital in South Allentown.
“We went about this in a uniquely different way,” he said. “We wanted to make sure the spaces were friendly to workers and to patients and their families.
Good Shepherd specializes in complex and catastrophic injuries and illnesses such as strokes, spinal cord and brain injuries, multiple traumas, amputation and nerve degeneration.
The team identified three trends in technology that will be included in the Experience Center, a 2,000-square-foot space inside the 123,000-square-foot, four-story facility: 3D printing, a training center and artificial intelligence.
A 3D printing program, developed in conjunction with Moravian University in Bethlehem, will have CAD (computer-assisted design) engineers working with clinicians to create personalized devices for patients. The printers will be used to make custom-made devices that aid patients, such as braces and splints and smart devices that could help patients pick up forks or glasses, even open doors, Spigel said.
“The therapist will design a device then work with an engineer who will do the final drawings and program the software. An hour to a few hours later, the device will be complete, and the therapist can fit it to the patient.
“The best part is, if it doesn’t work, a new, modified device can be made to replace it,” he said.
Prosthetic devices and adaptations to wheelchairs and walkers can also be made with this same technology. “There are research centers right now experimenting with making human organs. We are not doing that, but the technology is out there,” he said.
The second part of the Experience Center is the Automation Center. “We hope this will become a destination for anyone to learn about all the different technologies available, not just patients of ours.”
The Automation Center is a learning tool where patients can learn how to use smart devices such as Alexa or Google to help alter their homes or workspaces to allow more independence. For example, Spigel said, a smart device could be used to raise or lower window shades with a spoken command.
“There will be robotic technologies in the future, but for now, we can use off-the-shelf technology to optimize life,” he said. “We hope this will become a destination for anyone looking to learn about this.”
The third part of the Experience Center is wearables and artificial intelligence.
“Technology is coming that will potentially allow someone with limited use of their hands and wrists to put a sleeve on their forearm to aid with movement,” Spigel said. “Sensors will pick up on what the person wants to do and help them do it.”
Think of someone trying to pick up a fork or a water bottle with little use of their hands, he said.
“The wearables could also be wristbands or watches with sensors that would give the therapist feedback on activity levels at home. That way, he said, the therapist can stay connected to the patient even when the patient isn’t in therapy. “If they are declining, the therapist can find out why and motivate them to stay active,” he said.
“Companies today are researching ways to put this technology in the brain to regain movement in people with spinal injuries. Whatever it is, we want to be the first in the country to experiment with it.”
The age factor
The decision to build the new hospital was based on the age of the current building. The South Allentown facility was built in 1983 and has been using new technology as it has become available. The new hospital is being built to further allow the use of technology, Spigel said. “People are treated within our four walls and now they will be able to go further when they are living at home.”
The new hospital, in Upper Saucon Valley, across from the Promenade Shops of Saucon Valley, will feature 75 private rooms. The rooms are spacious to allow families to stay with the patient. Many patients outside of the area. In addition, each room will have a closet by the door with access both inside and outside the room.
“When things are delivered to the patient, like towels, sheets and bathing supplies, they can be put into the closet without disruption to the patient” he said. “When a nurse is in the room, he or she can put the supplies where they need to go.”
The rooms are equipped with smart devices that allow patients to control the blinds with their voice or call a nurse by speaking.
The hospital, which offers physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy, along with physicians who specialize in physiatry – physical medicine and rehabilitation – will also have a large outdoor therapy and activities center. Spigel said therapists and patients can go outside to learn how to navigate their environment.
“We will have all types of surfaces on different levels with barriers of all kinds that someone would find in the community,” he said. “We are located in an open space with lots of greenery, so we decided to add the outside area.”
A garden area where people can go to relax and enjoy with family and friends is also planned. While the facility is designed so therapy can happen anywhere, the outside area will be helpful for recreational therapy, he said.
“If someone loses use of their arms or legs, they probably can’t do the things they used to do. Here they can learn to do things differently to allow them physical, mental and spiritual enrichment.” Spigel said. And, of course, in today’s world, gaming can be taught differently. “There are a whole range of activities people can do.”
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network has added three more Trexo Plus robotic gait trainers to its rehabilitation technology that helps children walk, maybe even for the first time in their lives.
“This life-changing technology helps children from ages 1 to teens wire new pathways in the brain to learn or relearn motor patterns, strengthen themselves and maximize their functional development,” Dr. Kimberly Kuchinski, medical director of Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, said. “The ability for our families to have access to this technology, whether they are with us for inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, is extraordinary, and provides a seamless continuum of care.”
Good Shepherd becomes the only inpatient rehabilitation provider in the U.S. currently to offer all three sizes — small, medium and large — of the wearable robotic gait training technology. In total, Good Shepherd has use of six Trexo devices in Allentown and Bethlehem. Additionally, Good Shepherd is the only health-care provider on the East Coast to offer all three sizes for outpatient rehabilitation, a hospital statement said.
Trexo’s brightly colored robotic legs allow children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, gait disorders or other mobility challenges to walk hands-free in a safe, correct and consistent manner, all under the watchful eye of trained Good Shepherd Pediatrics team members. Children can walk farther as they gain strength through the weight-bearing design.
The Trexo technology is available at Good Shepherd’s South Allentown campus, 850 S. 5th St., as well as the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Emily Howatt Pliskatt Pediatric Unit, 2855 Schoenersville Road, in Bethlehem.
Good Shepherd received its first Trexo device, a medium for children ages 3-6, in 2019. Good Shepherd is conducting a research study into how the device impacts children with cerebral palsy.
Astrid Gonzalez Parrilla has joined Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network as senior vice president, Clinical Operations.
An occupational therapist by training, Gonzalez Parrilla oversees Good Shepherd’s adult and pediatric inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in Allentown and Bethlehem, which include a long-term acute-care hospital in Bethlehem, home health and long-term care facilities for nearly 160 residents, and the admissions department. She serves on Good Shepherd’s Senior Leadership Team.
A native of Puerto Rico, Gonzalez Parrilla arrived at Good Shepherd and the Lehigh Valley from Brooks Rehabilitation in Florida, where she served as vice president of operations for the Brooks – Halifax Health partnership. In that role, Gonzalez Parrilla oversaw the strategic direction, fiscal management and day-to-day operations of the physician practice, a 40-bed inpatient rehabilitation facility, adult and pediatric outpatient services and acute-care therapy departments.
Before joining Brooks in 2016, Gonzalez Parrilla held various positions at Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Meyers, Florida. She began as an occupational therapist and moved to director of quality and education, leading efforts to develop quality, safety and patient experience initiatives across the post-acute network.
Gonzalez Parrilla is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, with a degree in occupational therapy. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia Southern University and a doctorate in occupational therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Care Professions in 2014.
She is board certified as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), a Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) surveyor, and a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives (NALHE) and the National Society of Leadership and Success.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network named the Health & Technology Center in South Allentown after longtime Executive Director Frank Hyland who retires Friday.
The announcement was made during an outdoor retirement celebration this week by Michael Spigel, president and CEO of the network.
“Frank has been a force — not just for Good Shepherd, but a force nationally — in the use of creative and innovative therapies to find solutions for our patients. We know the power that he had in creating the essence of what the Health & Technology Center is. And so, we are renaming the Health & Technology Center to be The Hyland Center for Health & Technology,” Spigel said.
“And we pledge, Frank, to continue your legacy in providing leading-edge innovation, expertise and, of course, compassionate care, not just in the halls of The Hyland Center, but really throughout all of Good Shepherd. That building and that name and whatever that building may be in 40 years or 100 years — it is going to be The Hyland Center for Health & Technology,” he said during the retirement celebration.
Located at 850 S. 5th Street, The Hyland Center for Health & Technology is an outpatient rehabilitation facility, offering a fusion of comprehensive rehabilitation services and technology.
Patients and families access multiple services, including physicians specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatry), neurorehabilitation, pediatric rehabilitation, adult rehabilitation and other outpatient services, all under one roof.
The building also is home to Optimal Fitness, an adaptive fitness center that supports the fitness and training goals of community members living with disabilities.
In addition to naming the building in his honor, Good Shepherd commissioned a painting of The Hyland Center by local artist Ann Elizabeth Schlegel for Hyland’s retirement home in Maine.
“You have no idea how much this means to me,” Hyland said. “I know it was 40 years ago, but I still remember my first day at Good Shepherd. Our rehab department back then, we had 12 staff. Four of the 12 are still working stronger than ever.
“For the past 40 years, I have been blessed with the greatest job in the world,” he said. “I have had a job that I absolutely loved. I worked for an organization that I loved. … I will always be connected to Good Shepherd. I’m absolutely positive that our future is great; our future is golden.”
Featuring a former patient, Ruth Aragon, who was able to walk again using its Ekso Bionics Exoskeleton, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network broke ground Wednesday on its new rehabilitation hospital in Upper Saucon Township.
Located across the street from the Promenade Shops of Saucon Valley, the state-of-the-art inpatient rehabilitation hospital will be a four-story 76-private bed hospital, which will be the only one of its kind in the region.
At the event, Aragon walked onto the stage using the exoskeleton and thanked the people of Good Shepherd for helping her and others like her with the will to recover.
Michael Spigel, president and CEO of the network, said with the new facility Good Shepherd hopes to create more success stories like Aragon’s and break new ground on with emerging technologies and techniques.
“This is a transformational project. This hospital will be a game changer in rehabilitation,” he said.
He said the hospital’s goal is to revolutionize treatment and recovery options for people with complex medical conditions, such as stroke, spinal cord injury and brain injury.
Dr. Sandeep Singh, chief medical officer and program director of the spinal cord injury program offered his support for the future of treatment at the hospital.
“Our mission now is to elevate what has been our primary focus to another level,” he said. “I’m confident that this building and the infrastructure will attract the talent we need. This is an opportunity for us at Good Shepherd to embrace new technologies.”
And by embracing those new technologies, John Inglis, Upper Saucon Township supervisor, said the hospital will become a center for rehabilitation technology, which will be good for the region’s economy.
“We’re putting our full support behind this project it’s a chance to draw attention to the area and lure other tech companies here,” he said.
In addition to the medical and rehabilitative treatment that will be available at the new hospital, the building will also feature an experience center where people in rehabilitation can learn about new technologies ranging from artificial intelligence to 3D printing and how they can be used for a more independent life.
Construction on the inpatient rehabilitation hospital is expected to be complete in 2023.
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