Most of them were strangers, brought together by chance at a fateful moment on April 15 exactly six years ago today. But the 32 catastrophically injured patients treated by the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network in the days, weeks, and months following the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 now stand as living proof of the power of rehabilitation medicine.

Spaulding had always played a central role in the Marathon at many levels—through participation, fundraising, and volunteer hours in the medical tent. But as the institution prepared to move from its former location near Boston’s North Station to its current, state-of-the-art campus in Charlestown in April 2013, it couldn’t have predicted the elevated role it would play in the Marathon’s aftermath that year.

“For many Bostonians, Spaulding Rehabilitation is now synonymous with the strength and shared sense of community we saw as we supported our patients through their long recovery and helped them rebuild their lives,” says David Storto, President, Partners Continuing Care and Spaulding. “Both the medical community and the broader community watched as this terrible event revealed in real-time, in a real way, the critical importance of rehabilitation medicine in the care of trauma victims.”

Within the Partners HealthCare network, that increased awareness has meant even more close, multidisciplinary engagement between Spaulding’s rehabilitation medicine team and their acute care cohorts at other Partners hospitals. In addition, the Spaulding team has drawn on its higher national profile to support other rehabilitation facilities in cities across the country impacted by similar mass casualty events by sharing best practices and other resources.

At this year’s Boston Marathon, Spaulding will once again be on the ground—with medical volunteers, fundraisers and supporters, and racers. Spaulding’s Race for Rehab, still growing at the time of the 2013 bombings, has raised more than $4.9 million in support of Spaulding’s programs and initiatives. For more on the effort, and how you can help, click here.

Image credits: Banner image - Jesse Costa/WBUR;

Inset image: Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Topics: Community Partnerships, Integrated Care, Patient Experience

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