About Mary Free Bed's Construction and Renovation Project


Today's Challenges

A new chapter. A new need.

Although Mary Free Bed provides both inpatient and outpatient care through the hospital and the affiliated regional sites of the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network, it still cannot meet need. The volume of patients and variety of needs has outpaced the hospital’s ability to serve.

Capacity, in this case, is a two-pronged problem. The first prong is the semi-private room structure. Most of the rooms are semi-private, which means that one of the beds may be vacant in the best interests of the patient. Privacy for the patient and space for family are critical to the healing process and have become the industry standard. Infection control can also require a private room. It's more important for the patients to have the right conditions than for all beds to be full. Given these limitations, as well as patient confidentiality issues, the staff is constantly juggling rooms and patients to ensure that as many are served as well as possible.

Second, the need for rehabilitation services is climbing steadily. As medicine makes significant advances to save lives, it also creates new needs for rehabilitation that deliver quality of life. For example, doctors are able to save more premature and low birth-weight infants, but that has increased the number of children with cerebral palsy. Aggressive cancer treatments now prolong life in cases that used to be hopeless, but patients need rehabilitation to coax mobility and strength from their chemically-weakened bodies. 

Each triumph of medicine - each new cure or new treatment or extended life - can also bring about unintended consequences: A condition or side effect that must be rehabilitated if the success is to bring with it any real living. In addition, studies are showing that many elderly patients with broad-ranging illnesses can achieve higher levels of recovery by engaging in rehabilitation instead of going into nursing care. This also creates more demand.

Mary Free Bed is very proud of its 120-year heritage as a non-profit hospital that welcomes everyone regardless of their ability to pay. Its patients have a tremendous track record of accomplishment, acquiring both the skills and the desire to live well. The hospital still seeks to serve each person and family that has been rocked by illness or injury. But to meet the demand for services, capacity must increase.

Expansion and Renovation

We’re building six new stories that will move you.

The solution to the capacity challenge involves two elements: a comprehensive renovation of the nearly 40-year old main hospital and a six-story new building adjacent to the hospital. 

The renovation involves 200,000 square feet of hospital space that was built in 1976. While Mary Free Bed has carefully stewarded the building as-is for all these years, it's past time for physical and technical upgrades. The plans include separating all beds into single patient rooms, as well as consolidation and expansion of therapy spaces. This will put every bed to work, and also increase the efficiency of the therapy spaces for both inpatient and outpatient use. In addition, significant changes to the entryway and admitting process will respect patient dignity and privacy.

The six-story expansion will allow all rooms to become single-patient rooms designed with enough space to encourage family participation in the recovery process as well as allowing for future growth. Additional equipment and therapy spaces will provide advanced treatment and training.

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