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Shands Rehab Hospital, Shands Vista celebrate 25 years of service to the community

Shands Rehab Hospital and Shands Vista are turning 25 this month. Staff, former patients and community members are invited to join in the celebration beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 17, featuring food, games, prizes and music. Albert and Alberta will be in attendance and the ShandsCair helicopter will be on display. UF&Shands leadership, medical directors and former patients will speak about their experiences with Shands Rehab Hospital and Shands Vista.

"This is less a celebration of years, and more a celebration of people,” said Marina Cecchini, administrator for Shands Rehab Hospital and Shands Vista. “We want to recognize and celebrate all the former patients who have benefited from the services we have offered in Gainesville over the past 25 years. The missions of Shands Rehab and Shands Vista are demonstrated by the many patients whose lives were improved because they had access to psychiatric, drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation specialty services. Our staff, who care about our patients and about their recoveries, are the core of what makes these hospitals special.”

With 40 licensed beds, Shands Rehab Hospital is north central Florida’s only inpatient rehabilitation hospital. UF faculty and community physicians provide comprehensive medical rehabilitation care and treatment, and during the last two decades have treated thousands of patients with spinal cord injuries, major head trauma, severe burns and those who have had a stroke. Inpatient services include physical medicine, psychological rehabilitation and occupational, recreational, physical and speech therapies. Therapy is a large component of rehabilitation, and UF and community physicians and Shands Rehab Hospital staff have taught patients how to walk, talk and eat again ― things that are often taken for granted.

“It’s remarkable watching the progress of patients who have had bad injuries or difficult times recovering, and it’s wonderful to watch our therapists and nurses be a part of that,” said James Atchison, D.O., Shands Rehab Hospital medical director. “It’s a lot of hard work for the patients, and one of the most rewarding parts to me is getting those patients to the point where they can do the hard work. It will be exciting to see some of our former patients come back for the 25th anniversary celebration.”

Shands Vista, with 81 licensed beds, is a comprehensive behavioral health and addiction medicine hospital. UF faculty physicians provide inpatient and outpatient services through adult, child and adolescent psychiatry programs. Services include treatment for addiction, eating disorders, memory disorders, anxiety, depression and a wide range of other mental health conditions. Adult and adolescent addiction treatment and eating disorders treatment are the most recent additions to the services at Shands Vista. UF addiction medicine physicians and Shands clinical staff at the UF&Shands Florida Recovery Center offer addiction treatment through the partial hospitalization program and the intensive outpatient program. The UF&Shands Eating Disorders Recovery Center is the state’s first university inpatient treatment program for adults and adolescents suffering from anorexia, bulimia and other serious eating disorders. The new program, housed at Shands Vista, offers 24-7 evaluation and therapy. It includes hospitalization and partial hospitalization for adolescent and adult patients.

Shands Rehab Hospital and Shands Vista both have “magnet” designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The nursing profession’s most prestigious honor, “magnet” status is achieved by less than 1 percent of the nation’s acute-care hospitals.

“The lives of the patients are not the only ones that are changed. Each patient leaves behind a lasting impression on the physicians and staff who cared for them,” Cecchini said. “Some of those patients will be sharing their stories at the anniversary event Saturday.”

 

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Lindsey Robertson

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