Dreaming Big to a Healthy Rehabilitation

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two grandparents recover in a rehabilitation hospital

The Marmos both recovered at HealthSouth in Northern Virginia with a positive attitude and attentive staff

Frances and Joe Marmo have a lot to be proud of in their 55 years of marriage. Having raised three grown children, they are elated to now be grandparents of six.  With the desire to be closer to two of their children, the Marmos relocated from New Jersey to Northern Virginia last year.


Once they settled into their new home, the couple began planning a cross-country train ride as a celebration of their new stage in life. Before the trip could be booked, however, they both encountered changes in health that put the vacation on hold, but the dream of travel is playing an important part in their recovery.


This summer, at the age of 83, Joe had a third surgery on his knee. Fortunately, one of his daughters living nearby is a nurse and served as a tremendous advocate during his hospital stay. “I was treated like royalty,” he said.



After his surgery, Joe was referred to HealthSouth of Northern Virginia, the newest acute rehabilitation hospital in the region and the first in Loudoun County, Va. Having gone through several surgeries and rehabilitation before, he was impressed at the level of care he received and the highly trained and attentive staff. “I couldn’t believe how great I was walking just three days after my surgery,” he said.


A New Direction for Care and Recovery


Leading the team for this new 40-bed hospital is CEO Christina Stover, who stated, “I am very proud of this hospital and our clinical reputation.” She gives a great deal of credit to Medical Director Dominique L. Vinh, MD, who previously served as the inpatient medical director for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the leading rehabilitation hospital in the country. He is a unique physician with multiple Board-certifications in Internal Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. Dr. Vinh works closely with Associate Medical Director Dr. Zuggo-Liszka, who is Board-certified in Internal Medicine and in the subspecialty of Geriatric Medicine.


“What we have created is a team approach with a rehab doctor and a geriatrician,” said Dr. Vinh. “Whenever a person comes to HealthSouth of Northern Virginia, we work as a team. Dr. Zuggo-Liszka focuses on the medical aspect of the patient and I focus on the neurologic, orthopedic and rehabilitation aspect. This ensures that every conceivable medical issue can be addressed.”



And according to Christina Stover, this innovative model is working since the outcomes and functional gains are exceeding all benchmarks as measured by an objective third-party. “As someone who has been in the industry for a long time, it’s very unusual,” she said.


A Family Affair in Rehabilitation


While Joe was going through rehabilitation, Frances also began to develop a variety of health-related issues. Again, the support of their daughter and other loved ones proved to be invaluable in helping the couple manage during this challenging time.


Once Frances was strong enough to be discharged from the hospital, she was able to join Joe at HealthSouth. “They were very good to us,” she said. “We enjoyed eating meals together, it was just very encouraging.”


Janet Smith, director of marketing and admissions, said, “It was so motivating to watch them helping each other.  Being together was an integral part of their positive outcome and recovery.”


While the Marmos’ situation was truly unique, the new design and leadership philosophy of the hospital is tremendously encouraging for families helping their loved ones.


“I like how this building is designed because it doesn’t look like a hospital, it’s very clean and very bright,” said Dr. Vinh. “The last thing you want for your rehabilitation is an institutionalized setting. There are no shared rooms and our rooms are large enough for families to visit comfortably. Having family involved is very important to encourage you during your rehabilitation.”


Returning Home after Rehabilitation


According to Christina, the staff at HealthSouth has one focus in mind. “From the moment someone comes in our door, our goal is to get them back home,” she said.


And the Marmos were able to achieve this goal together when they happily returned to their upscale apartment in Northern Virginia. “I feel at home here. It’s not as big as our last home, but it’s just enough for us,” said Frances. More importantly, it has enough space to have their children and grandchildren over for their traditional home-cooked meals.


With their recent health issues, the couple further realizes that moving closer to their family was one of the wisest decisions they have ever made. Additionally, they know they would not have had the opportunity to receive care at HealthSouth, and may not have been comfortably at home so soon had they utilized other rehab options. According to Janet Smith, the average length of stay is around 14 days, differing significantly from other rehabilitation options which might be 30 days or as long as a year. She credited the three-hour daily intensive combined therapies and the medical oversight provided by the team of medical directors.


Focusing on the Dream with the help of HealthSouth


With the help of HealthSouth and buoyed by the dream to take that cross-country train ride, Frances has continued to make huge strides in her recovery through a variety of outpatient rehabilitation plans. While the program is challenging and tough at times, she always keeps the dream of the train ride in front of her. “It keeps me going and focused on my recovery,” she said.

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