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Employee Helps Patients Toward Rehabilitation

Caption: (L to R) Laura Kelley, Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital's, manager of inpatient rehabilitation services, and Rick Wright, CEO of Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital.

La Grange – When Laura Kelley was growing up in Rockford, she and her family saw how her neighbor went from an active adult to losing the use of his arms and legs because of multiple sclerosis.


“Page went from riding motorcycles as a Shriner to being a quadriplegic,” Kelley said recalled. “Yet he wrote two books by holding a stylus in his mouth to use the keyboard. He used his neck muscles. His was an amazing story of resiliency. He used every tool that was left available to him. This is what my staff and I try and teach our patients.”


As manager of inpatient rehabilitation services at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, Kelley manages a team of 53 physical, speech and occupational therapists. They work with all types of patients from teenagers experiencing sports injuries, to those recovering from car crashes, to patients who have had a stroke or heart surgery.


“We have quite a few patients in their late 80s,” Kelley said. “So many are young at heart. We believe that we can learn a lot from them about living our own lives. It’s a gift, being able to learn from our patients.”


For her commitment to the Adventist Midwest Health mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ, Kelley was one of five employees recognized with the organization’s Pillar Award at leadership conference in October.


“Laura leads an outstanding team known for excellent patient satisfaction results and employee engagement scores that are consistently above the 90th percentile,” said Mary Murphy, chief nursing officer Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. She and her staff developed an intradepartmental recognition program. She is always positive and willing to do whatever is needed for the patient, and the organization.”


“Communication is key,” Kelley said when asked about her high employee engagement scores. “On any given day, we have 15 therapists on site. We take a few moments to discuss the patients three times a day. We prioritize their needs.”


A good fit for the patient is also crucial, Kelley said.


“We know our work is valuable and we try not to worry about small aspects of our work,” Kelley said. “We focus on the big picture. So many of our patients have suffered devastating losses, our problems often seem trivial in comparison. But when one of the team is experiencing a loss, we’re there for each other. My name is on this award, but it goes to our team.” 


Kelley earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in Champaign. She received her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Illinois medical center in Chicago.


She began working at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital in 1993 and has assumed leadership positions since joining. She has been in her current position for eight years and lives in La Grange.


She and her husband Daniel have two sons-Brian is a freshman at Ohio State University studying pre-med, and Patrick is a junior at Lyons Township High School.


“There is an old saying that says if you love your job, you never have to work a day in your life,” Kelley said. “This is true for me. I’m where I’m supposed to be



Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit


Media contact: Trish Reynaert, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-856-2354