April 18, 2014

Elyria
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Veteran nurse receives leadership award from EMH

ELYRIA — A veteran nurse who worked her way up to a major administrative post at EMH Elyria Medical Center has been recognized with one of the hospital’s top honors.

Sandra Kantelas, RN, receives the Kevin C. Martin Leadership Award from EMH Healthcare President and CEO Dr. Donald Sheldon.

Sandra Kantelas, EMH director of Patient Care and Nursing, has been honored with the Kevin C. Martin Leadership Award, which is given to those in leadership posts with the hospital system who “consistently demonstrate the values that are essential to the organization’s success,” according to a news release about the award.

Kantelas was presented with the honor by EMH Healthcare President and CEO Dr. Donald Sheldon last week.

The award is named for Kevin C. Martin, the late president and chief executive officer of EMH from 1998 until February 2009, when he died following a battle with cancer.

Kantelas oversees inpatient nursing and rehabilitation programs for the hospital system in the post she has held for four years.

A registered nurse for 38 years, she has nearly 600 people who report to her, including nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, as well as outpatient care personnel at the EMH Avon Health Campus and smaller-scale cardiac rehab and health consultation services.

One of the biggest challenges faced by Kantelas and all levels of the hospital staff during the past several years has been keeping the focus on compassionate, high-quality patient care while keeping costs down.

Health care reform has accelerated an already quickening pace of changes within the health care field, Kantelas said, “causing us to constantly be in a state of adjusting to meet requirements.”

“We’ve really made strides toward being a leaner organization,” Kantelas said. “We get patient feedback about their experience and include them in decision-making about their care to ensure their needs are being met.”

Patients also get follow-up phone calls about their hospital stays and treatment.

Nurses and other staff “who work at the bedside where care is delivered” are consulted to try and resolve problems to improve the level of care, Kantelas said.

Kantelas took note of other improvements in reducing the amount of time patients wait in the emergency room before treatment begins, upgrades in the radiology department and improved food service.

“We’ve always been ahead of the curve on this,” Kantelas said, pointing out that EMH made the list of America’s 100 best hospitals by HealthGrades, a Denver-based firm that compiles comprehensive data about hospitals and doctors to determine patient satisfaction and safety, clinical outcomes and health conditions.

Kantelas remembered Martin as “dynamic, thoughtful, professional and respectful of those he worked with.”

A lifelong resident of Lorain County, Kantelas lives in North Ridgeville. She has two adult sons and one granddaughter.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.