Reflection On Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

By Robert J. Harris

April 17, 2017

One week ago, my wife returned home after a three-week stay at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. She was there to recover from surgery after a tumor was removed from her spine. The two of us will be forever grateful for the caring and skillful treatment she received from Spaulding’s dedicated staff.

For the two of us, the experience was life-changing. For me personally, the experience was humbling. In my career as a Human Resources professional, I have held dozens of meetings with employees to discuss their return to work after a disabling illness or injury. While I treated each employee with care and compassion, I never completely understood their experience – not until after I experienced it first-hand through my wife. As a career educator, I also gained greater understanding of the learning process that takes place as part of rehabilitation.

The culture at Spaulding is learning-centered, where all key stakeholders (physicians, nurses, OT, PT, SPL, psychologists, the patient, and family members) are fundamentally engaged as high-performing team members in a continuous feedback loop that leads to improved patient outcomes. Each patient’s program is personalized, with strategic performance goals that are co-created, monitored, assessed and revised daily with the patient. As the patient’s spouse, I was welcomed by the team, encouraged to participate in all rehabilitation activities, asked by clinicians to provide them with critical feedback, and my input was regularly sought and always valued. The process at Spaulding is an exemplar of the Learning-Centered Model I continue to advocate for in public education.

Even now, while back at home, Spaulding continues to provide my wife with training and monitor her progress. She receives OT, PT, and other services weekly to ensure that she continues to build on her success, regain her strength, and can ultimately return to the quality of life she experienced prior to surgery. We know that we are very fortunate, and thank Spaulding Rehab and Mass General Hospital for their commitment to high-quality patient care through learning and collaboration.

Robert J. Harris (@edudexterous) is an Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources.


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