News

Recognized Among Top 10% in the Nation

Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital has been named in the Top 10 percent of inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States for 3 years in a row. The hospital’s care was cited as being a patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

“Achieving Top 10 percent is a measure of how well we live and follow our guiding principles of compassionate, patient-centered, outcome-oriented care,” says Reuben Jessup, COO of Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital. “By reaching that benchmark for each of the three years that our hospital has been eligible, it is a confirmation of the excellent care that our facility and staff provide, and of our ongoing commitment to provide the best rehabilitative care available.”

Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital was ranked in the Top 10 percent from among 870 inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR), a non-profit corporation that was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The UDSMR maintains the world’s largest database of rehabilitation outcomes.

“Being recognized in the Top 10 percent is important to us because it is a reflection of the priorities we have established in our organization,” says Ryan Keele, CEO of Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital. “Patient outcomes are at the core of all our efforts. It’s why we do what we do.”

Keele also went on to say, “We received this ranking because of our fantastic clinical leadership, headed by Dr. Joseph Fyans and the group of clinicians that care for our patients every day. This — paired with our interdisciplinary approach to rehabilitation — allows us to maximize the amount of progress patients can make in their short time with us.”

Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital provides specialized rehabilitative services to patients who are recovering from or living with disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses, or chronic medical conditions. This includes, but is not limited to, strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, cerebral palsy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

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Certified as Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease

Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital, First in Utah, Certified as Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease
One of less than 20 in nation to earn distinction

Eighty five-year-old Joanne Higham, of Roy, has long been independent. A mother of six, she was widowed in 1979 and spent the next 21 years providing for herself and family as a supply clerk for IBM until she retired.

About eight years ago, Higham was having significant back problems and also noticed a concerning tremor in her hands. After having back surgery, her tremors improved and were dismissed as a symptom of something else going on. Higham continued to enjoy being active with her family and in her community until recent months when her tremors and balance worsened. It became difficult for her to complete simple tasks with her right hand, and she had difficulty getting out of bed or a chair. She even stopped going to church because she was self-conscious of her tremors and fearful of having to move around so many people.

“I would find myself unable to move or stay moving when I wanted to,” Higham says. “My balance had already been off for a while, but now it was getting worse; I began falling frequently. I didn’t know what was going on. It was getting harder to care for myself. I stopped doing pretty much everything I used to enjoy doing.”

On Nov. 10, Higham had another “freezing” episode where she couldn’t move. She fell and broke her arm. After being taken to the ER, she was told the fracture was inoperable and was transferred to Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital for rehabilitation, still with no answers as to why she was having movement problems. After being admitted to the rehabilitation hospital, she was diagnosed with — and began treatment for — Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressive movement disorder.

Higham is one of numerous patients who have received treatment at Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital for Parkinson’s disease. The hospital recently became the first in Utah – and is one of less than 20 in the nation — to be certified by The Joint Commission for Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation. Certification is voluntary and given after a rigorous on-site review of the hospital’s practices, programs, and outcomes in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

“We take our responsibility to providing the highest quality of Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation to the community very seriously,” says Ryan Keele, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital. “We know that even though Parkinson’s disease has no known cure, research has shown that a combined focus on medication management and intensive rehabilitation can dramatically improve function and quality of life in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.”

When an individual has Parkinson’s disease, vital nerve cells in the brain – called neurons – malfunction and die. These dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that is critical for signals in the part of the brain that controls the body’s movement and coordination. The amount of dopamine decreases as Parkinson’s disease progresses, which causes increasing difficulty for an individual to control his or her body’s movements. There are an estimated 5,000 individuals in Utah who suffer from Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Reuben Jessop, Chief Operating Officer at Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital and an expert in the field of Parkinson’s disease, led the efforts in developing a comprehensive Parkinson’s disease program at the hospital. He has worked closely with the Parkinson’s disease community along the Wasatch Front for 15 years and recognized a need for comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation services geared specifically to Parkinson’s disease.

“It was a significant undertaking and included input from community neurologists who specialize in movement disorders, along with countless hours of research, training, and process improvement,” he says. “We wanted to be sure we were providing the very best care to our patients based upon all the evidence and information available in the field.”

As a result of these efforts, the hospital is now recognized as providing the highest level of rehabilitative care available to Parkinson’s patients in the nation.

“Members of the healthcare team – including the treating neurologist, our rehabilitation physician, nursing staff, and therapists – all work closely together in coordinating medication management and therapy schedules to maximally improve a patient’s movement and practice of daily activities,” Jessop explains. “The inpatient rehabilitation environment truly is the best place to capitalize on the key treatment components of exercise and medication because we can monitor for benefits and possible side-effects of medication adjustments, while simultaneously providing intensive therapies. We also set patients up for success by providing extensive education from all disciplines, including our dietitian and social worker. We want them to have the very best chance of successfully managing all of the aspects of this disease.”

This approach proved to be beneficial to Higham. Because of advanced training and awareness, the hospital’s clinical staff quickly identified symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in her soon after her admission to the hospital. Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is typically made by a clinical presentation of symptoms consistent with the disease followed by a positive response to a trial of medication, which was the case with Higham. Her trial dose of dopamine-replacing medication had an almost immediate effect with symptoms showing significant improvement within 24 hours. Her tremors lessened, rigidity improved, and her walking improved dramatically as well.

“I was scared when I first learned that I had Parkinson’s disease,” Higham admits. “My brother-in-law had Parkinson’s disease, and I saw first-hand how the disease progressed. But now that I’ve seen positive changes in how I can move and do things, I’m more hopeful. I can walk better, get up and down from chairs easier, and use my hand more because it doesn’t shake as much.”

One of Higham’s daughters, Barbara Snitker, says that she and her siblings are thrilled with the care that their mother received at the hospital. “The staff was so engaging and helpful,” she says. “If it wasn’t for them, we still wouldn’t even know that mom has Parkinson’s disease. They helped to answer so many questions and explain so many things we had noticed over the past few years.”

Upon being discharged from Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital after a 17-day stay, Higham moved into an assisted living facility. Her new neurologist and movement disorder specialist will help her continue to monitor and adjust her medications, and she plans to continue to receive outpatient rehabilitation services through Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital. She now plans to go back to church.

“I’m excited to begin my next chapter of life,” she says.

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Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital Provides Nationally Recognized Care to Community for 2nd Year in Row

For the 2nd year in a row, Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital has been acknowledged for providing nationally recognized rehabilitative care to its patients. The hospital was ranked in the Top 10% of inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide for providing care that is patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

“This means that in the Northern Utah area, we’re providing the highest level of rehabilitative care available anywhere in the United States right now,” says Ryan Keele, CEO of Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital. “Patients and their families don’t have to leave the area to receive the latest in technology and clinical protocols – we’re providing it here in our own backyard.”

The hospital was ranked from among 781 inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR). The UDSMR is a non-profit corporation that was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. UDSMR maintains the world’s largest database for medical rehabilitation outcomes.

“This national ranking speaks highly of the commitment and dedication of our employees and medical staff,” Keele says. “Our staff is passionate about helping patients return home at their highest possible levels of productivity and independence. And for anyone who has ever as had a family member or friend needing healthcare, that matters. We consider it a privilege to be able to provide this higher standard of care to our community.”

Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital provides specialized rehabilitative services to patients who are recovering from disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses, or chronic medical conditions. This includes strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations, along with illnesses such as cerebral palsy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

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