Center For Restorative Care

October 5, 2007
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The new Metro Health Hospital will play host to a combined approach when helping patients who’ve suffered debilitating injuries or strokes or have undergone joint replacement or spinal surgery: the Steve and Cindy Van Andel Center for Restorative Care.

The 34-bed unit will encompass both acute care and pre-discharge rehabilitation, therapy and education, said Joann Boruta Mapes, director of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Twelve beds will be devoted to inpatient rehab, she said, while the rest will be open to joint replacement camp, stroke center and spine program patients.

“All of these patients come in and need to get home, functioning as best they can,” Boruta Mapes said. “We took four different types of patients and put them on the same floor. They all require more training to return home at the same level or at least functioning at the highest level they can.”

The Van Andels were among 17 who donated at least $100,000 to the capital campaign for the new Metro Health Hospital and had their names attached to a feature in it, from the surgery center to gardens to a library. Steve Van Andel is a member of the boards of Metro Health Corp. and the Metro Health Hospital Foundation.

Sue Wiers, nurse manager of the unit, said she has a staff of 65, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and patient care technicians.

“For us, it’s to prevent complications, but also to enhance (the patients’) quality of life, getting them to increase their functional independence,” Wiers said. “A lot of times we need to manage a person’s expectations and educate them about what’s going to happen so they’re more ready to go home and feel more comfortable. That’s our goal.”

The Center for Restorative Care features a facility for physical and occupational therapy that includes an adjustable half of a car, so that patients can practice getting in and out, and an apartment that allows the patient to practice spending the night at home, either alone or with a caregiver.

“The whole area is centered around the therapy facility,” Wiers said. “It’s very interdisciplinary. We work side by side with the therapists. We do a lot of coaching. It’s us teaching patients, showing them how to do things for themselves.”

“The patients eat meals together, have recreational therapy, pet therapy — dogs are going to be coming a couple times a week — group therapies, lots of education,” Boruta Mapes said.

“We’ll take care of them when they’re acute, and rehab is on same floor,” Wiers added.

All those services were available at Metro Health’s old location on Boston Street SE in Grand Rapids, Boruta Mapes said. But they were scattered between several floors, and patients had limited opportunities to interact, share stories and encouragement, she said.

Wiers said the unit includes several multipurpose rooms for classes and seminars for potential patients.

“As a nurse, it’s exciting for me,” Wiers added. “For the most part, they’re pretty healthy patients. It’s fun to see people get better. It’s a happy place to work.” HQX

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