By Laura Otto & Becky Cline
Schaumburg residents rely on a number of excellent medical centers when it comes to finding high quality, dependable healthcare. The area’s primary healthcare providers include Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village (and its affiliated medical centers throughout the suburbs) as well as Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. In addition to offering a wide variety of healthcare services and programs, these facilities make it a point to give back to the community that has fostered their existence.
Alexian Brothers Medical Center is an acute care hospital and has been providing comprehensive, quality healthcare to residents in Chicago’s northwest suburbs for more than 40 years. The Center is a 320-bed community hospital with more than 750 physicians on staff representing approximately 60 medical and surgical specialties.
Alexian Brothers Medical Center has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for disease-specific certification as a primary stroke center and is renowned for its cutting-edge treatment in the areas of heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, bariatric surgery, joint replacement and oncology.
Supporting the Schaumburg community is central to Alexian Brothers. The hospital paired up with the Schaumburg Flyers professional baseball team franchise – the first professional sports franchise in Schaumburg’s history – to bring exciting Northern League action to residents.
Fans enjoy great games as well as other Alexian Brothers-sponsored family entertainment at the field. As a “park partner” with the Schaumburg Park District, the two entities work together to offer programs such as preventative injury and sports-related classes as well as classes on such topics as skiing, golf and walking trail tips.
Every other Friday the Alexian Woodfield Walkers, a group composed primarily of seniors, take to the mall’s miles of “trails” for some climate-controlled exercise. Staff members from Alexian Brothers train walkers on how to track miles and stay active.
Another group of medical professionals from Alexian Brothers serve the community a decidedly different kind of “medicine.” By day, these medical professionals perform surgeries, deliver babies and take care of patients. By night, they throw aside their scrubs in order to tune their instruments, warm-up their voices and get ready to hit the stage as the Rockin’ Docs.
More than 20 years ago, the Rockin’ Docs band was comprised of a few Alexian Brothers doctors who enjoyed getting together every now and then to play music. Today, the band has blossomed into so many members that it’s hard to keep count – in fact, the Rockin’ Docs never know exactly how many musicians will show up on stage. Membership now includes friends and children of the doctors as well as professionals from local bands.
Although some of the band members have written original work, the Rockin’ Docs usually cover hits that people can sing and dance to.
Lead guitarist Fred Duboe, an obstetrician and gynecologist at St. Alexius in Hoffman Estates, which is part of the Alexian Brothers Hospital network, is one of the founding members of Rockin’ Docs. He joked that “anyone over 35 should be able to recognize what we play – we just hope the 17-year-olds can join along.”
Every February the band performs for the Sweetheart Dance at the Center for Enriched Living in Riverwoods. It is one of Duboe’s favorite events, as those in attendance often bring their own instruments and join them onstage to play.
The Rockin’ Docs played at their biggest venue yet on August 12, 2007 at Alexian Field. Dr. Duboe said “it was like Woodstock” – approximately 4,500 people were in attendance. Proceeds from the performance went to support lung cancer research at the Cancer Institute in the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network.
Ed Goldberg is one of the singers of the band. He also happens to be the president and CEO of St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, part of the Alexian Brothers Hospital network.
St. Alexius Medical Center is a 331-bed community hospital that has provided outstanding healthcare to the residents of the northwest suburbs for more than 28 years. Its medical staff includes more than 1,000 physicians representing approximately 60 medical and surgical specialties. Each year physicians at St. Alexius treat more than 15,000 people as inpatients and perform more than 8,300 outpatient surgeries.
“At St. Alexius Medical Center, we value our role in the community and have made significant investments in recent years to meet the healthcare needs of the residents,” said Goldberg.
St. Alexius offers a number of health education opportunities for the community including nutrition, childcare, prenatal education, smoking cessation and health screenings. It also supports a number of charity events over the course of the year including activities for the local chambers of commerce, Children’s Advocacy Center and park districts. It also is the official provider of first aid for the Schaumburg Flyers home games.
“We take great pride in not only providing quality patient care but providing it in the friendliest manner possible,” Goldberg said. “Additionally, the collaboration and relationships that we have established in the community with both individuals and organizations continues to expand, allowing us to be a good neighbor beyond the confines of the hospital itself.”
NORTHWEST COMMUNITY ENJOYS A RENAISSANCE
Founded in 1959, Northwest Community Hospital is furthering its standard of excellence with a multi-year redevelopment project that focuses on improved patient safety, faster healing, better family comforts and the latest technologies that are all delivered with a high level of compassionate care.
Northwest Community is currently undergoing its Renaissance Project, the most ambitious campus improvement in the hospital’s 48-year history. An eight-story patient care addition will feature 200 private rooms, enabling the hospital to meet a growing demand for outstanding healthcare services. A new seven-level parking deck and extensive remodeling of the main hospital building are also part of the improvement plan that will be completed in mid-2010.
“The number of patients we serve has increased faster than any area hospital, and our emergency department serves more people than any other in the northwest suburbs,” said Bruce Crowther, president and CEO of Northwest Community Hospital.
The new patient care addition will feature a public welcoming center, 24-bed critical care unit, labor and delivery and postpartum units, and four floors for medical and surgical patients. It will provide first-floor space for a 19,300-square-foot expansion of the emergency department, which will grow to 42,000 square feet.
The new building continues Northwest Community’s mission of creating family-centered healing environments and delivering evidence-based care. The new building’s design encourages natural light and views of nature. On patient floors, clear glass will allow for views from family lounges and balconies will provide outdoor access. All 200 rooms will provide ample space for visiting families.
Northwest Community Hospital facilities include the Busse Center for Specialty Medicine, Day Surgery Center, Home Healthcare Services, Mobile Dental Clinic, Schaumburg Imaging Center, Wellness Center, Youth Center, three Treatment Centers (including one in Schaumburg) and five physician office locations.
An experienced team of 1,000 doctors, 4,000 employees and 800 volunteers has led the hospital to achieve the elite status of being named a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence while ranking Number 1 in Illinois for overall heart care during the past three years.
The 488-bed hospital in Arlington Heights serves 30,000 inpatients and 370,000 outpatients each year. The hospital made Fortune magazine’s 2006 and 2007 lists of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and holds the prestigious Magnet designation for nursing excellence.
In addition to its hospital services, Northwest Community conducts a variety of health and wellness programs in the community year-round, ranging from first aid classes to cancer support groups.
Northwest Community is the first hospital in the Chicago area and among the first in the country to post all of its quality performance data on its website. The Quality Report Card, which can be found at www.nch.org, illustrates how Northwest Community Hospital is performing compared to other hospitals in Illinois and across the nation in clinical quality, mortality, nursing care, patient safety and patient satisfaction.
“Our goal is to set the standard for the way the healthcare industry provides credible information to people shopping for quality care,” Crowther said. “Well-informed consumers make the best choices for their own care, and that’s the way it should be.”
The Importance of Starting
Good Habits Young
By Becky Cline
Living in a country in which fast food is the alternative for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sitting on the couch watching television is the recreation of choice, growing up with good lifestyle habits can be quite difficult. However, parents have a choice. Instilling health and fitness into children’s daily regimen early on ultimately ensures a longer, happier and more fulfilled life.
What are the top challenges faced by parents today in keeping their kids healthy? “It’s kind of a two-pronged problem,” explained Dr. Helen Minciotti of Woodfield Pediatrics in Schaumburg. “One is the amount of junk food, pop and fast food available out there. It is hard to avoid these. And the second problem is the availability of free time for children to be active, which is particularly restricted by parents working, television use, video games and other forms of passive entertainment that is out there.”
Parents have several options in maintaining their child’s health and fitness level. When it comes to food, kids should be educated on what is nutritious and what is not. Explain where the food comes from and why it’s beneficial. Also, teach children how to read food labels and let them help pick out the right foods and choose tasty, wholesome recipes.
In concert with eating right, parents need to encourage kids to fall in love with physical activity. Parks and recreational facilities span the map of our communities, along with a variety of youth sports leagues and active programs sure to get your child’s heart racing. Children should explore all the options available out there, as they will surely find their niche.
What’s more, experts have continually stressed that living a healthful life should be a family thing. “Make an emphasis on the whole family. Everybody should work together and make a more family-oriented approach with both good eating and physical activity,” asserted Dr. Minciotti. “Parents and their children should make a pact to eat right and stay active.”
Naturally, making these decisions to lead a healthy and fit life starting at a young age will, in the long run, inevitably contribute to better choices as an adult.