Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (HDVCH) and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (MFB) are partnering to increase access to pediatric acute inpatient rehabilitation.
The collaboration will set forth an acute pediatric inpatient rehabilitation unit at MFB, where staff from MFB and HDVCH will work together to enhance current services and create new ones.
The agreement builds on the 2018 Forum for Collaboration between the organizations and paves the way for future opportunities, with the goal of expanding and improving services in the region while remaining independent organizations.
“We have worked closely with Mary Free Bed for many years and value our shared goal of better serving children by leveraging our respective strengths,” said Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Spectrum Health. “This agreement builds on our strong relationship and is focused on specialized healing care and therapy our kids need.”
The idea was conceived from the treatment of 11-year old Lyli Shults, the first patient benefiting from the partnership, which allowed caregivers from HDVCH to help MFB doctors establish a pediatric ventilator program for children who require mechanical assistance for breathing.
After Shults’ surgery at HDVCH, she was transferred to MFB to receive the specialized rehabilitation she needed, while also maintaining the ventilator guidance and support of HDVCH physicians via telehealth.
“We’ll be thinking about rehabilitation from the moment children are admitted to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital because of this collaboration,” said CEO of Mary Free Bed Kent Riddle. “We’re all thrilled about how this program will make recoveries for kids even better.”
The partnership will save time for families who would otherwise have to go back and forth between hospitals for pediatric appointments and also help the patient not miss out on critical therapy and rehabilitation time.
The partnership also will enhance services for patients in need of post-acute care by having access to a MFB physiatrist and a HDVCH physiatrist — doctors who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
“To me, what a partnership like this shows is that when two separate institutions or two separate corporations make (themselves) available to do what’s best for the patient and the family, then they can really take advantage of the expertise in both environments,” said Dr. Ajay Khilanani, medical director of HDVCH Digital Health. “Because of the spirit of this partnership and the leaders on both sides that have played a role in developing this, I think it will only advance care for patients in this community and region.”