Specialty Programs

To make an appointment for any of these programs, please call the appointment center at 773-878-6888. For information on what is required for physical therapy, please read our frequently asked questions. For more information on our specialized programs, please call 773-989-1681.

Speech Therapy

The Swedish Covenant speech-language pathologists are specialists in treating the full spectrum of cognitive-communicative disorders in patients of all ages. Services are available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. 

Conditions treated:

• Speech disorders
• Language disorders
• Cognitive communication disorders
• Voice disorders
• Stuttering
• Swallowing disorders
• Assistive devices are available for those who cannot speak

Special services for accent modification are also available for those who would like to improve their ability to communicate clearly using standard American English. Speech therapy begins with an evaluation and assessment that will allow us to determine the best possible treatment.  

Elements to therapy:

• High-tech diagnostics
• Computerized teaching
• Modifications to consistency of food
• Exercises to improve tongue and lip movement
• An emphasis on coaching, education and other exercises
• Family education, ensuring patients have the appropriate support at home

We offer Fibroendoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES), which uses a sophisticated flexible endoscope to view the swallow mechanism and provides precise information for diagnosis and treatment.

Our primary goal for every patient is the same: to improve communication, cognition and swallowing to the highest possible level.

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Hand Therapy

People with a variety of injuries and neurological conditions regain maximum use of their hands and upper body through Swedish Covenant Hospital's Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabilitation Center. Our certified hand therapists (CHTs) work closely with patients to assess the condition and then develop an individualized treatment plan. Our CHTs have a minimum of five years clinical experience (including 2,000 hours or more of direct practice in hand therapy), passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper extremity rehabilitation, and take continuing education courses annually to maintain certification.

Therapy may include any one or more of the following:

  • Supervised exercises for range of motion, strength, dexterity and pain relief
  • Guided exercises for fine motor coordination
  • The Baltimore Therapeutic Equipment System, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation tool that duplicates the physical challenges of everyday tasks
  • Biometrics' E-LINK system, a computerized upper extremity evaluation and exercise system for strength, range of motion and endurance
  • Acute and chronic pain management
  • Splints to prevent or correct injury
  • Retraining on activities of daily living
  • Work conditioning, ergonomics education and work station modifications
  • Family and caregiver education to ensure you get the support you need
  • Close coordination and communication with your primary care physician

Benefits Of Hand & Upper Extremity Therapy
The benefits of hand and upper extremity therapy apply to a wide audience such as workers involved with heavy equipment, data entry and assembly line; athletes; musicians; and chronic arthritis sufferers. Their variety of conditions and situations include:

  • Fractures
  • Tendinitis and tendon injuries, sprains and strains
  • Nerve injuries and nerve compression
  • Arthritis
  • Amputation
  • Burns
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries
  • Work-related injuries

Requirements For Hand Therapy
Each treatment plan is completely customized to the patient's unique needs and situation. Hand therapy is offered on an outpatient basis. Treatment length varies. You must have a physician's order for hand therapy. Treatment is covered by most insurance policies; check with your carrier to be sure.

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Sports Medicine Therapy

From "weekend warrior" to well-conditioned athlete, all levels of sports' enthusiasts run the risk of injury. Our sports medicine specialists teach safe and effective techniques to help restore function, promote physical fitness and return sports' enthusiasts to their activities.

Therapy may include any one or more of the following:

  • Pain management and inflammation reduction
  • Soft tissue and joint mobilization
  • A customized exercise program including stretching, monitored cardiovascular training, resistance training and stabilization exercises
  • Sport-specific conditioning and biomechanics training
  • Education on proper body mechanics and re-injury prevention
  • Aquatic therapy in a dedicated warm-water therapy pool

Benefits of sports medicine therapy
Those who can benefit from sports medicine therapy may be experiencing:

  • Post-surgical deconditioning
  • Sport-specific injuries such as golfer's elbow and runners
  • Sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries
  • Tendinitis and tendon injuries
  • Cartilage and ligament tears
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Back sprains and strains, disk herniations
  • Bio-mechanical injuries

The program is staffed with its own group of sports enthusiasts - with backgrounds as triathletes and marathon runners and specialized training in sports related injuries and on-the-field experience - our physical sports therapists really know how to relate to their clients' goals.

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Incontinence and Pelvic Pain

For the more than 18 million Americans suffering from urinary incontinence and pelvic pain, finding the appropriate medical attention and program can be a challenge in itself. At the forefront of providing care in this specialty is Swedish Covenant Hospital's Incontinence and Pelvic Pain Program. Using an exercise-based behavior approach, patients experience long-term relief and regain confidence in enjoying everyday activities. 

Specially trained and highly skilled physical therapists at Swedish Covenant Hospital work with patients to improve or eliminate incontinence, reduce pain and improve overall quality of life.

Therapy may include one or more of the following:

  • Instruction on exercises to strengthen and re-educate the pelvic floor muscles
  • Biofeedback, which allows the patient to view muscle activity on a computer screen and reinforces effective muscle work
  • Bladder retraining
  • Education on proper posture and body mechanics
  • Electric stimulation to help strengthen very weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Manual therapy

Benefits of incontinence program
Men and women with stress, urgency or mixed incontinence may benefit from therapy. For people with these conditions, incontinence is caused by weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, overactivity of the bladder muscle or a combination of both. 

Others with the following conditions may also benefit from therapy:

  • Underlying urinary tract infection
  • Chronic condition such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes
  • Prior surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Trauma to the bladder

Especially with the elderly, incontinence can be triggered by certain over-the-counter and prescription drugs, restricted mobility or delirium.

Benefits of pelvic pain program
People with pelvic pain conditions can also be treated and their symptoms improved with therapy. These conditions include:

  • Pre- and post-natal back pain
  • Prolapse
  • Pain during intercourse or penetration
  • Scar tissue restriction
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Other chronic painful conditions of the pelvic area

For women, pelvic floor muscle strength is essential to supporting the bladder and uterus, and pregnancy and childbirth can significantly weaken pelvic floor muscles.

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Vestibular Therapy

Dizziness is so prevalent a condition that it is the third most frequent reason people see their doctors and a common reason for emergency room visits. People who suffer from dizziness and balance problems often have to see several specialists before finding relief. 

As part of Swedish Covenant Hospital's comprehensive and advanced set of rehabilitation services, sufferers can now receive expert help and effective treatment. Through the Vestibular Rehabilitation and Balance Retraining Program, specially trained physical therapists help patients overcome dizziness and restore the vital function of balance to everyday life.

Therapy may include any one or more of the following:

  • Canalith repositioning for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, a series of specific maneuvers to reposition the crystals that naturally form in the inner ear
  • Balance retraining exercises to improve coordination and organization of sensory information
  • Supervised exercise on fitness equipment for strength and endurance
  • Gait training
  • Visual retraining for perception problems
  • Instruction on fall prevention and ways to live more safely
  • Family and caregiver education to ensure you get the support you need
  • Close coordination and communication with your referring physician

Benefits of vestibular therapy and balance retraining
Those who may have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) may benefit from Vestibular Therapy and balance retraining. BPPV is the most common cause of dizziness and is an easily cured condition caused by the displacement of naturally forming crystals within the inner ear.

The program may benefit others experiencing balance problems associated with:

  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Trauma to the ear or head
  • Side effects from medication
  • Tumors or Meniere's disease (an inner ear disorder)

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Aquatic Physical Therapy

We are pleased to operate one of the few hospital based aquatic programs, In Chicago, in a true therapy pool here at the Galter Life Center. In aquatic physical therapy, a patient exercises in a therapeutic pool, assisted and supervised by a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. 

Aquatic physical therapy makes use of the buoyancy and resistance that are natural properties of water to help facilitate the physical therapy treatment program. The pool is kept between 91 and 93 degrees which allow the muscles to relax and improves circulation to the joints. Goals of an aquatic physical therapy program may include improved joint range of motion or flexibility, increased strength, improved cardiovascular condition and endurance, increased postural or core stabilization, as well as many others. 

For certain patients, an aquatic environment is a better choice than land for physical therapy. The total contact of the water can also help to decrease muscle spasticity in certain patients, making normal motion easier. Although aquatic therapy can benefit a large number of patients, it is not for everyone. There are a number of conditions that would make it unsafe to have a patient participate in aquatic physical therapy. 

Patients with open wounds, certain skin conditions, and bowel or bladder incontinence are unfortunately not good candidates for aquatic physical therapy. Typically patients attend the aquatics program for approximately 4 weeks at which point they progress onto more traditional land based therapy or continue independently with the exercises

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Work Conditioning

Swedish Covenant Hospital's Work Conditioning Program uses a multidisciplinary approach to restore function, promote physical fitness and prepare clients to return to work. 

Beginning with a comprehensive functional capacity evaluation, the specialist will assess functional deficits, dexterity, range-of-motion, strength and reflexes. He/she will also conduct a full anatomical and neurological exam, evaluate pain perception using a standard questionnaire, and determine lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling capacity.

Each treatment plan is individualized and may include any one or more of the following:

  • A customized exercise program including stretching, monitored cardiovascular training, resistance training and stabilization exercises
  • Work simulation activities using Baltimore Therapeutic Equipment, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation tool that objectively measures job-specific abilities and provides job simulation
  • Precise measurements using Biometrics' E-LINK, a computerized evaluation system that determines the client's disability rating for upper extremity usage
  • Aquatics therapy in the warm-water therapy pool
  • Education on soft tissue healing, the value of exercise, proper posture, body mechanics and re-injury prevention
  • Group exercise sessions and weekly meetings
  • Job site analysis and suggested modifications

Benefits of work conditioning
People who can benefit from the Work Conditioning Program are those having:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Resolved surgeries (at least three weeks post-surgery)
  • Healed fractures (at least three weeks post-surgery)
  • No medical contraindications to activity-based rehabilitation
  • Ability to benefit from exercises


To make an appointment for any of these programs, please call the appointment center at 773-878-6888

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Rehabilitation Services Patient Stories

Read stories from patients who have found healing and compassion at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

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