Renovated facility will offer unique services

Rehab institute celebrates 50th year

The Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Detroit celebrated its 50th anniversary with plans to renovate, expand, and create a new and unique rehabilitation model at a cost of $35 million.

Construction on a 26,000-square-foot addition and renovations to the existing eight-story hospital building will begin in April and are expected to be completed in 2004.

"Our new outpatient extension will be very state-of-the-art, and no other rehab facility will look like us in the country," says Cheryl Angelelli, director of marketing and public relations.

The institute was founded in 1951 as a health care facility that treated polio survivors and World War II veterans who had disabling injuries. The current building was opened in 1958, and since then it has had only face-lift renovations, except for a three-story expansion in 1971, says Terry Reiley, MBA, CHE, president of the institute.

"There were no major construction or renovation projects after we added several floors to the top of the building," Reiley says. "Now we will renovate all of the four inpatient units and 94 licensed beds."

While many health care facilities have focused more on cutting costs in recent years than on starting costly expansions and renovations, the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan decided it was exactly the right time to expand both outpatient and inpatient services, renovate inpatient space, and create a new look through the addition of a sports and fitness/wellness center that will be built on what now is a parking lot and will be attached to the existing facility.

"Our volumes are increasing, and we’re looking at other growth opportunities and specialty areas," Angelelli says. "For example, with oncology rehab, we’re trying to get into niche services, and we’ve really outgrown our building."

As the largest free-standing rehabilitation hospital in Michigan, the institute is overdue for a major change to its design, Angelelli says.

"We provide state-of-the-art care here, and we’ll now have a state-of-the-art facility to match the care we provide," Angelelli adds.

The not-for-profit rehab institute is affiliated with the Detroit Medical Center, which is affiliated with Wayne State University in Detroit. Through fundraisers and investments, the institute has raised 80% of the money needed to pay for the expansion and renovation, Angelelli says.

Jerry Stackhouse, who is captain of the Detroit Pistons basketball team, is on the institute’s board of directors and has assisted the hospital in raising capital funds, Reiley says.

Stackhouse hosted a wheelchair basketball celebrity event that raised more than $24,000.

"Wheelchair athletes played against sportscasters, and the wheelchair athletes won," Reiley says. "We had about 400 people watching the game, and money was raised through sponsorships."

The hospital has four specialty units, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), stroke and geriatrics, and orthopedics/general. There are 90-100 spinal cord injury admissions per year, about 200 traumatic brain injury inpatient admissions, and a total of 1,600 inpatient admissions, Reiley says.

In keeping with the times and the last decade’s focus on greater efficiency, the rehab institute has one of the most efficient lengths of stay (LOS) nationwide, Reiley says.

"Our spinal cord injury LOS is running 32 days, and our TBI is about 22 days, and those two compare well against benchmarks," Reiley explains. "Our overall LOS is 15 days."

The institute’s focus is on moving patients out of the inpatient facility and into outpatient treatment through a seamless transition, Reiley adds.

"Outpatient will continue to be a growth trend for us, but we’re still working on growing the inpatient market as well," Reiley says. "There are people whose injuries are so severe they do need inpatient first, and when you have a system where you can focus on specialty diagnostics, you can draw a broader patient base from across the Michigan region."

For example, when the expansion and renovation are complete, various inpatient services will be expanded, including services for amputee patients, oncology rehab services, and orthopedics, Angelelli says.

Also, the hospital will be better prepared for handling medically challenging patients who have acute care needs as well as inpatient rehab needs.

"We’ll completely gut and design from scratch, making semiprivate suites, individual bathrooms and showers, and large family rooms for people to spend the night," Reiley explains. "We will have wall gases installed with oxygen tanks, and this will advance our ability to take more medically complex patients and to accommodate ventilator patients, as well."

Renovations to the current space will be as follows:

  • The first floor has the lobby and outpatient services, including physical therapy and outpatient therapy. There also is an outpatient gym and a recreational pool. When the expansion is complete, the lobby will be expanded, as will the gift shop, and outpatient services will be moved to the new connected building. The pool will continue to be used for outpatient therapy. The hospital’s chapel may be moved to the first floor.
  • The second floor has an activities-of-daily-living apartment, recreational rehabilitation, an assistive technology laboratory, a lab for gait and motion analysis, and an inpatient therapeutic gym.
  • The third floor, which had been leased out, now will serve as a transitional floor during the construction. Once construction is complete, this floor will be one of four floors that have semiprivate and private suites for patients.
  • The fourth, sixth, and seventh floors are patient care units that now have four-bed wards. The renovated space will have semiprivate and private suites.
  • The fifth floor has the research offices and a patient education library.
  • The eighth floor contains the administrative offices.

A new sports, fitness, and wellness center will be built as a two-story addition connected to the west side of the existing building. People will be able to enter the addition through the spinal cord injury unit, as well as from the outside.

The sports center will have a walking and wheelchair track, state-of-the-art sports equipment, and a therapy treatment area. "We have a therapeutic pool already, and we’ll expand the sports medicine capability in downtown Detroit and offer fitness memberships," Reiley says.

With the new sports and wellness space, the institute also will be able to design a sports disability focus program in which newly injured people with disabilities will be able to engage in water sports, such as adaptive sailing, kayaking, and skiing. There also will be tennis, basketball, and golf available to disabled patients.

"We plan to have the fitness area wheelchair-accessible," Angelelli says. "So someone in a wheelchair can join the fitness gym and use the equipment."

Other benefits will be that the new space will accommodate an expansion of the institute’s assistive technology, and the rehab facility will have a more formal wheelchair-seating program in which patients may be referred from all over Michigan and from the bordering state of Ohio.

"Wheelchair-seating is where you study a person’s posture comfort and position the wheelchair for them," Reiley says.

"A lot of people in wheelchairs are not well-positioned and do not have the right adaptive equipment," Reiley adds. "This is especially true of older persons who may be sitting in an oversized wheelchair, so they don’t have the best body alignment."

Need More Information?

  • Cheryl Angelelli, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, 261 Mack Blvd., Detroit, MI 48201. Telephone: (313) 966-8490.
  • Terry Reiley, MBA, CHE, President, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, 261 Mack Blvd., Suite 824, Detroit, MI 48201. Telephone: (313) 745-1203.