Reyes Gallegos can recall the exact day she began her career – August 26, 1969 - at what is today known as Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital. “I worked in dietary making salads,” she says. Now 45 years later, Reyes is getting ready to celebrate a milestone in her career at the same time Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital, originally built as part of St. Joseph’s Medical Center in 1968, celebrates 25 years with Lovelace Health System. Throughout the years, meeting patients and the people she has worked with has been Reyes’ true joy at every point in her career from dietary to housekeeping, unit secretary and medical records. “They keep coming back and say, ‘Are you still here?’” she jokes of the comments she has received. Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital has found a place in Reyes’ heart, as well as those who have received care. “I think it is important for people from the community to know this is the place to come,” she adds.
Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital’s history in Albuquerque is the foundation for the hospital today, which serves patients in New Mexico as the only hospital in the state accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in six programs:
Stroke Specialty Program
Brain Injury Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs
Spinal Cord System of Care
Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs
Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs (adults)
Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs (children and adolescents)
With more than 200 employees, Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital offers a full continuum of inpatient and outpatient care, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, rehabilitation nursing and case management services. “We have the privilege of helping our patients accomplish goals that so many others take for granted - such as learning to walk or speak, count change after a stroke, or balancing normally after a concussion,” shares Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital CEO Derrick Jones. “We celebrate our patients’ every victory, and we are dedicated to offering them every chance to succeed.”
Those victories are very deliberate at the outset with the goals and care team established for each patient. Working closely with a network of acute care hospitals and health care clinics serving patients throughout Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Southeastern New Mexico, as well as access to 11 Lovelace pharmacies, with more than 75 providers within Lovelace Medical Group and Southwest Medical Associates, Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital produces above standard results. In 2013, 77 percent of Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital inpatients were discharged to the community, following an average of 13.5 days in the hospital. “I think a lot of that is driven by the closer relationships with the physicians,” Derrick adds. “Additionally, patients have access to other specialty services, consultation, specialty case management services. All of that has made a difference in our outcomes for our patients.”
Seeing a patient walk through the doors upon discharge, Reyes says is an experience every employee at Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital takes pride in witnessing, knowing that patient’s life has been changed for the better as a result of their care.
Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital will celebrate their 25th anniversary in conjunction with National Rehabilitation Week September 22 thru September 26. The weeklong festivities begin Monday with patient activities including a Bingo tournament and other therapy games. The celebration continues on Tuesday with a pet therapy parade, followed by a patient reunion luncheon on Wednesday. Staff will enjoy a celebratory luncheon Thursday with the week ending Friday with team jersey day and a fun Wii tournament. Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, therapists and staff who are dedicated to helping our patients get healthier after a major injury or illness!