Gaylord Specialty Healthcare was founded in 1902 as a tuberculosis sanatorium and provided long-term treatment during the 50 years when the disease was endemic. Gaylord’s expertise became recognized nationwide, and it became a destination for care. Many well-known individuals took advantage of its services, including playwright Eugene O’Neill.
In the 1950s Gaylord turned its expertise to other forms of rehabilitation, beginning with chronic pulmonary disorders, then stroke, brain injury, and spinal cord injury, quickly establishing itself as the premier long-term acute care hospital in the state.
The Growth of a Healthcare System
Our work today is focused on building and strengthening a nonprofit healthcare system dedicated to rehabilitation at every level, from inpatient care for major illnesses and injuries to outpatient care for anyone facing a disabling condition, and physical therapy facilities across the state that enable people to live life to the fullest.
Gaylord Sanatorium founded to treat tuberculosis
Pictured: Its first director, Dr. David Lyman, who studied TB, contracted the disease and then recovered. He devoted his career to Gaylord – and defeating TB. Florence Burgess joins him as the first director of nursing and assistant superintendent.
First six patients are admitted
American playwright Eugene O’Neill is treated for tuberculosis at Gaylord
Pictured: The cottage where Eugene O’Neill stayed at Gaylord
Gaylord became the first sanatorium in the country to offer its facilities to the United States Public Health Laboratory National Research Committee
Despite the Depression, the culture of healing at Gaylord attracts annual reunions of patients. Service is kept up and expenses held down. Exercise and fresh air emerge as key components of therapy, with patients tending to farm animals and sleeping on cottage porches. The myth of TB facilities needing to be in the mountains is debunked by Gaylord
Gaylord Farm Sanatorium became Gaylord Hospital to address the health care issues of people with chronic illnesses
Dr. Sterling Brinkley takes the helm to transform Gaylord into a rehabilitation hospital. Gaylord became New England’s first hospital specializing in comprehensive rehabilitation.
Brinkley consults with Dr. Thomas Hines, assistant professor and director of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Yale, who joins the staff as the expert in the field to bring Gaylord through the transition.
Dr. Thomas Hines is named medical director and chief executive officer of Gaylord.
A new section of the hospital designed specifically for teenage patients opens.
Stuart Knox, the 1st businessman to hold the position of hospital director, wrote: “Gaylord is unique. It specializes in physical rehabilitation…the team approach is designed and applied to meet the needs of the individual.”
Gaylord creates a team including Psychologists, social workers, and recreational therapists, giving them the ideal environment in which to treat the whole patient.
With the continued expansion of the hospital, the Elizabeth Russell Hooker medical rehabilitation wing is completed as well as the Luscomb Building, a new treatment facility.
Dr. Curtland C. Brown, Jr. is appointed medical director in 1977, a wide smile and narrow bow ties are his trademarks.
Patient-focused features are added, such as Easy Street (which replicates everyday tasks for patients) and a Day Care Center for staff.
Apace from these developments, Gaylord organizes events, merging fun and fundraising while elevating the hospital and its mission. Lastly, leadership continues to prepare Gaylord for major changes in the healthcare marketplace.
Gaylord opened up its first location outside of Wallingford. The Gaylord/Yale-New Haven Rehabilitation Center at Long Wharf in New Haven.
Dedication of The Louis D. Traurig House, a transitional living facility for people with brain injuries – to this day the only one in CT.
The arc of Gaylord’s success continues with the expansion of the Yale relationship, and the growth of outpatient care in New Haven, CT.
Aquatic therapy is established at Gaylord and the role of therapeutic recreation expands to include instruction and team competition.
Long-time supporters of the hospital celebrated the opening and dedication of the Richard S. Jackson Pavilion on June 13, 1993.
In 1996, Medical and clinical services take off with Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations accreditation, advancements in brain injury, spinal injury, and stroke care, and streamlined services.
The hospital joins the National Handicapped Sports Association in 1996. Gaylord initiated the 9-hole Golf tournament, the Gaylord Hospital Open, for golfers with disabilities.
James Cullen takes the helm as president and chief executive officer in October 2001.
Due to high demand, the Gaylord Board of Directors authorizes the expansion of the Wallingford campus, triggering the development of a new wing of 36 inpatient rooms and renovation of the Luscomb therapy building.
Milne Pavilion opens up on December 5th, 2008 with a ribbon-cutting.
Gaylord partners with Boston Medical Center to become designated by the U.S. National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research as a Model System of Care for Spinal Cord Injury.
Gaylord acquires the Ekso Bionic Exoskeleton to help individuals with lower-body weakness or paralysis to walk, making Gaylord the 17th facility in the world to use this remarkable machine.
The first annual Gaylord Gauntlet was held in June, with over 500 people running and raising money to help support the activities of the Sports Association.
The Alter G treadmill was purchased for patient use. The Alter G uses unique unweighting with air pressure, which comfortably lifts the user and allows them to walk or run at a fraction
of their body weight.
The ZeroG® Gait and Balance System was purchased and installed in the Wallingford inpatient gym. This device is mounted to an overhead track and protects patients from falls while providing dynamic body-weight support as patients practice walking, balance tasks, sit-to-stand maneuvers, and even stairs.
Gaylord launches the Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation. Housed on the Gaylord campus in Wallingford, Connecticut, the Milne Institute conducts research and develops evidence-based practices and applied technologies, which have the potential to change lives around the world, by leveraging Gaylord’s expertise in the care of brain and spinal cord injuries, complex strokes, amputations, and pulmonary diseases.
In partnership with Gaylord Hospital, Hartford Hospital, and UConn Health, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine announces the first and only Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Residency in Connecticut.
“As a rehabilitation-focused healthcare system, Gaylord Hospital is uniquely positioned to provide the hands-on training that the next generation of physiatrists needs to serve our community, not only in Connecticut but also throughout the country. Gaylord offers a broad continuum of care including inpatient and outpatient care, transitional living for brain injury and stroke, and the largest adaptive sports program in the region. These settings, coupled with Gaylord’s extraordinary and experienced staff, create the ideal learning environment to understand how physiatry plays a vital role in patients’ improved function and quality of life,” said Dr. David Rosenblum, Gaylord Hospital, Associate Program Director, PM&R residency and Site Director.
A production crew from the international public broadcasting series “Travels & Traditions with Burt Wolf” on location at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare’s Wallingford headquarters film “The Hospital of the Future”. The half-hour episode celebrates Gaylord’s 120-year history and unique, patient-centered care and clinical innovation through the first-hand perspective of its patients and staff.
Gaylord opens its 4th Physical Therapy location in Madison, CT.
Pictured: Jacob Hunter (left), Senior Director of Outpatient Services, and Dr. Jerry Kaplan (right), Medical Director of Outpatient Services