Friday, September 19, 2014

NORMAN - Thanks to the generosity of local donors, Norman Regional opened its newly remodeled Rehabilitation Center this week. The Rehabilitation Center helps patients relearn and regain skills they need to live more independently.

This remodel was part of a $1.4 million dollar campaign funded by donors to Norman Regional Health Foundation, a non-profit that assists Norman Regional Health System. The money was used to remodel facilities, purchase new technology and equipment, and train staff in the latest therapies.

"Whether patients suffer a traumatic injury from a car accident or experience a severe stroke, they all have one goal in common: to recover basic skills that give them great joy, such as holding their children, taking a walk outside or talking with a friend," said Trish Crow, Development Coordinator with the Norman Regional Health Foundation. "They deserve the best care available right here at home. Norman Regional has a top-notch, experienced and skilled team of rehabilitation doctors, therapists and nurses. Through the gifts of our generous donors, Norman Regional Health Foundation was able to bring the dreams to reality."

The Rehabilitation Center is located on the third floor of Norman Regional, 901 N. Porter Ave. To better accommodate patients, the space was reconfigured to increase the gym area by 45 percent. This increase allowed the addition of new therapy equipment. A family entertainment area was added for patients and their families to be able to socialize, watch movies, and play games. Work areas were redesigned to increase comfort and safety for patients and staff, allowing them to work faster and more effectively. Finally, each patient room received new surfaces, flooring, window treatments and fixtures to help create a more healing environment.

Other improvements include:

  • Independence Park, an outdoor barrier course where patients can encounter and overcome obstacles they face when returning home such as curbs, gravel and stairs. Norman Regional’s Independence Park is one of only two outdoor barrier courses in the state.
  • Constraint induced therapy, a new treatment approach for increasing arm function following stroke or traumatic head injury. While highly supported by research, this form of therapy was previously not available in Oklahoma.
  • The VitalStim® is a device used to help patients with difficulty swallowing. Updating this equipment allows us to expand the therapy to include a wider variety of patients including those with Parkinson’s disease and head and neck cancer patients.
  • New wireless computer tablets to allow therapists to spend more time with patients and less time documenting at their desks.

Patients are being moved into the new unit Friday, September 19, 2014. The first patient to experience the newly renovated unit was Joyce Becker. "I think it's lovely. It's very, very nice," she said. Mrs. Becker said she’s happy to be in the newly redone space. But her favorite experience is the outdoor barrier course, Independence Park. "I love it. I love it. I love being outside!"

Mrs. Becker's daughter, Susie Graves, said Independence Park brought out a smile in her mother for the first time during her hospital stay. "The first smile we saw, I mean her real smile, was when she went outside to the barrier course. She loved it."

The remodel at Norman Regional was just one part of an all-compassing project. Norman Regional's outpatient rehabilitation services also benefit from the campaign. The remodel of the Physical Performance Center, located at 724 24th Ave. NW, Suite 200, will also be completed shortly. An open house for the Center is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 14. The public is invited to come and see the new center, meet therapists, and learn more about the services offered.

To meet growing community need, the Physical Performance Center will include a dedicated Pediatric Therapy Room for children. This room will provide a child-friendly environment that is free of outside distractions. iPads were added to the pediatric therapy program allowing therapists to use applications specifically designed to enhance speech, language and cognitive skills in a manner that excites children and encourages them by making therapy fun.

The Foundation kicked off the rehabilitation services fundraising campaign in the fall of 2012.

"A little more than three years ago, this reality that we are currently standing in, was just a dream," said Courtney Brackin, a Norman Regional Foundation Board Member. "The Norman Regional Health Foundation wanted to fund a project that could really impact our patients and enhance our ability to give the best possible healthcare to our community members."

The Foundation is grateful to the many donors who supported this project, with lead gifts from Norman Regional Health System, Norman Regional Auxiliary, Norman Physician Hospital Organization and TEAMHealth Emergency Medicine. The proceeds from the annual Ambassador Ball benefited the Rehabilitation Campaign in 2013 and 2014, which along with support of our other donors helped push the campaign just over the goal of $1.4 million.

All donors will be recognized on a donor wall which will be located in the main hallway of the Rehabilitation Center.