Date: 11/21/2001

St. Catherine Hospital begins $1.6 million renovation, creates rehabilitation unit

Just weeks after having acquired St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago from Ancilla Systems, Inc., Community Foundation of Norwest Indiana, Inc., (CFNI) has begun a $1.6 million renovation project that will culminate in the new Rehabilitation Center at St. Catherine, scheduled to open in mid December.

Construction for the facility is taking place in a vacated wing of St. Catherine Hospital that served as a medical-surgical unit until 1987, when it was closed after the new patient care towers opened at the hospital. The area, which has been used as storage space for about 12 years, will reopen in mid December as the Rehabilitation Center at St. Catherine - an 18-bed, 11,815-square-foot rehabilitative care unit with state-of-the-art equipment and services.

“When the acquisition of St. Catherine Hospital took place in October, Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana made a commitment to improving services so the local community has better access to comprehensive care. This is only the beginning of our commitment to the East Chicago and surrounding communities,” said John Gorski, senior vice president of hospital operations for CFNI.

The Rehabilitation Center at St. Catherine is being modeled after the award-winning center built at Community Hospital in Munster in 1996. It will expand St. Catherine’s medical services to include rehabilitative care for a variety of people, including those with brain injury, stroke, neurological or orthopedic conditions, amputation, polyarthritis, multiple trauma and congenital deformity disorders.
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“Patients who in the past would have had to leave East Chicago for rehabilitative care will no longer need to seek care away from home. Our new unit will offer both patients and families a new level of convenient, high quality health care services,” said JoAnn Birdzell, St. Catherine Hospital Administrator.

The Rehabilitation Center at St. Catherine Hospital will provide high-quality, individually-designed rehabilitative care to help patients achieve maximum independence. Patients will be cared for by an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, registered nurses, licensed physician and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, therapeutic recreational therapists and social service counselors.

The unit offers 10 private rooms and eight semi-private (shared) beds. Patients who are learning to gain independence for living will have access to all the activities of daily living, including an apartment-like setting with a washer and dryer, training kitchen, restroom and living area. The center will offer 1,000 square feet of activity and dining space, a fully-equipped gym for therapy and exercise, conference space for family and caregivers, and offices.

“This state of the art rehabilitative care service will allow patients to recover from traumatic injury and surgery and return home able to live fully independent lives,” said Titu Aron, M.D., medical director of the Rehabilitation Center.

The expansion at St. Catherine Hospital will provide for 18 new jobs.