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May 7 Update from CEO Lynn Ricci Regarding COVID-19/Coronavirus

May 7, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges and new opportunities to Hospital for Special Care.  Our outstanding teams have proactively developed novel approaches to meet the needs of patients, their community and their colleagues, while remaining focused on our mission to rebuild lives.  Our patients and our staff inspire me – and I am honored to share these stories of hope and growth with you.

COVID -19 Recovery

Our 10 bed COVID-19 Recovery Unit has been completely full over the last few weeks.  Each day our designated and dedicated team of physicians, nurses, respiratory, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists and others provide state of the art (and state of the heart) care to help severely weakened patients recover their physical and emotional well-being.

Our acute care partners have saved these patients’ lives and each day we help them rebuild their strength, learn to stand, to step, to walk… and to smile.

We’re now discharging patients daily into the warm embrace of their families – each recovery a success celebrated by the entire hospital with a socially-distanced parade, favorite song selection and heartfelt emotion.  Each discharge followed closely by a new admission as another patient takes the next steps toward recovery.

Joe Pandolfe, a 71-year old small business owner, husband, father, and grandfather of seven spent 42 days in the hospital fighting the effects of COVID-19.  He was put on a ventilator for 17 days to keep him alive and on May 5th, he went home. Watch the Story

Satellite Surge

A full house is nothing new for us at HFSC.  We routinely operate at 98 percent of our licensed bed capacity (or higher), providing one of the only long-term acute care resources for patients with complex medical needs, and the primary care option for patients eligible for Medicaid (approximately 75 percent of inpatient admissions).

Knowing we had to remain available to care for all patients in need regardless of COVID -19 status, we implemented a surge plan, expanding our capacity at our Hartford Satellite, located on the Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital campus of Trinity Health Of New England.  Working closely with the CT Department of Public Health, our clinical team has gone above and beyond – surging above our licensed bed capacity to meet community need. Our patients have graciously welcomed their new roommates, glad to be a part of the community effort to triumph over adversity.

Innovation on the front lines

Just as our inpatient teams have adapted to new norms, our outpatient teams continue to thrive with innovation driving new telemedicine, telehealth and social media live streaming strategies to support the unique patients we serve. The ingenuity of our information technology, compliance and fiscal teams has provided remarkable new platforms for clinical creativity.  Each of these practices offer value to our patients and larger community with promising implications for the future delivery of health and wellness services.

  • Autism care – Dr. Hassan Minhas and his team continue to bring consistency and access to care to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families to help the cope with the ongoing disruption to daily routines.
  • Neuromuscular Center – our neurologists and their multidisciplinary teams continue providing care for patients with ALS, muscular dystrophy, neuropathy, Parkinson ’s disease and movement disorders.
  • Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy – Our clinicians bring best practices in therapy intervention into patient homes in the safest way possible – no contact virtual visits help patients stay on track with progress.
  • Pulmonary, Psychology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation – Our physicians and psychologists provide virtual consults and supports for patients each day and have developed safe strategies to meet urgent needs on site.
  • Facebook Live Seated Yoga – Join Allison Mesa, speech therapist and Rx Relax certified seated yoga instructor, each Friday at 9:30 AM on Facebook Live for stretching, movement and breathing exercise designed to promote health and reduce stress. Look for more events, including mindfulness and meditation in the near future.

Our new reality

Incorporating all we have learned and all we will yet discover into new, safe and sustainable care models will drive our emergence into a new reality.  Next week we will begin a very gradual reopening of outpatient services including physical therapy, neuromuscular care and other critical services for patients with complex needs who require our clinicians’ healing touch .  A critical step into a new reality, guided by best practices in infection prevention and risk reduction, and one of many to come in the days ahead as we map new paths forward for our patient and community services.

None of this work happens in a vacuum.  You are a part of each step forward and your support of our staff and our work has never been more critical to Hospital for Special Care’s future.  Celebrate a nurse in your life this week, cheer our staff on through social media and our very own kudos webpage, and consider making a gift to show your support for our mission.

Celebrating Nurses Week

To our nurses: thank you for your inspiring dedication to rebuilding lives.


Media Contacts

  • Hollie Randall
    Social Media and Marketing Communications Manager
    [email protected]

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