Excellence is considered the pinnacle of achievement in any profession. It’s difficult to attain, hard to find, and those who truly excel are an inspiration. Such is the case with Rehabilitation Services at Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center. For the second consecutive year, the team has placed in the top 5 percent of healthcare providers nationwide.

Press Ganey, the global leader in healthcare experience solutions and services, has awarded the Yavapai Regional Rehabilitation Services team the 2023 Human Experience (HX) Guardian of Excellence Award® for its performance in patient experience. The award is part of the company’s annual assessment of the top hospitals and health systems in the country, which ranks more than 41,000 hospitals and healthcare facilities according to safety, quality, and experience of care.

Rick Logan, P.T., Director of Rehabilitation Services at Yavapai Regional, is honored by the distinction, but not surprised.

“As a physical therapist, and now administratively leading the physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy teams at Yavapai Regional for the past two years, I can honestly say that this team impresses me every day,” he explains. “I am constantly in awe with respect for each individual’s contribution. The level of compassionate care, professional and charismatic intervention, and unwavering listening skills creates a positive atmosphere and strong patient outcomes.”

Members of the team, comprised of licensed physical, occupational, speech, and massage therapists, are in agreement that excellence is built one moment at a time. Connecting individually with their patients and creating long-lasting relationships is essential.

“Being a therapist is as much about friendship as it is about treatment,” says physical therapist Rich Tenney. “At Yavapai Regional, we are given the opportunity to work one-on-one with our patients. This enables us to really get to know them personally. It helps us to work together with them as a team to improve their function, and it is key to their recovery. It is such a joy to see how working together makes a difference in their lives from day to day.”

Jennifer Patterson, P.T., describes excellence as wanting to help people live their best lives. The rewards might seem small, but they’re powerful.

“There are little moments every day that remind me that I make a difference,” Patterson explains. “A patient who feels better, moves better, sleeps better. A patient who says thank you for listening, caring, and helping. The rewards is when you and your patient realize a connection that makes an improvement in their quality of life.”

“I love to celebrate both the small and large accomplishments of my patients,” notes Melissa Alley, O.T. “I recently helped a patient transfer into and out of a vehicle independently. She successfully met her goal with therapy, and she was very grateful to gain some of her independence back. She reported that she was able to go out into the community with her newfound independence and she enjoyed lunch and shopping downtown with a friend.”

Physical therapist Aaron DeBord agrees. “It’s so rewarding when a patient comes in saying, ‘Guess what I was finally able to do?!’”

DeBord also points out that the members of the Yavapai Regional physical rehabilitation team have been working for a long time as a close-knit unit, which has created a family atmosphere.

“Our team is such a great, cohesive group, all with hearts that care deeply about the patients,” he says. “It’s a wonderful collection of kind, fun, and helpful colleagues. We’re supportive and encouraging to each other, which makes it enjoyable to come to work every day.”

“The breadth of expertise in our clinical family is remarkable, including specialized hand, lymphedema, women’s health, speech, massage, chronic pain, vestibular, and postural restoration therapy,” says Tenney. “This breadth of expertise gives us the ability to collaborate to provide our patients the best care possible. However, it is our connection, our caring for each other, that really makes the difference. As we all know, when you love the people you work with, loving your work is more likely to happen.”

Exceptional professionals, a work environment that encourages caring relationships between therapists and patients, and a supportive family of coworkers and friends have combined to create excellence, earning the Yavapai Regional Rehabilitation Services team the Guardian of Excellence Award once again this year.

Tenney describes an experience that may sum up the effect that excellence has on those around us. He was entering a local market when he heard his name, turned, and saw a young man running towards him.

“He was an 18-year-old version of a 12-year-old boy who, at that time, was slowly progressing towards a life that would require the use of a wheelchair. It is difficult to express the joy I experienced seeing him run towards me. We embraced as he shared with me the remarkable things he was doing in his life. After saying our goodbyes, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the sacred opportunity we have as therapists to make a lasting difference in the lives of those we care for.”

To learn more about Rehabilitation Services at Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center, visit https://yrmc.org/services/physical-rehabilitation-services/services.