All Rehabilitation Programs


We have amazing specialty services designed to enrich your life. Your spinal cord injury treatment team will determine which ones will round out a successful recovery.

Adaptive Sports

Our Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program will no doubt have something that interests you. While you’re still an inpatient, recreation therapists can take you to see team practices and games. It’s a great way to meet others and have some fun.

In addition to competitive and recreational teams for tennis, basketball, rugby, softball and other sports, we also have clinics throughout the year so you can try the activities before you invest in equipment. These include archery, canoeing, downhill skiing, kayaking, golf, rock climbing, sailing, scuba diving and water skiing. More than 700 people participate in this program every year.

Assistive Technology

Our inventive bioengineers customize technology to make your life easier. For example, if you have limited arm and hand movements, these techies find ways for you to make calls or take notes on your cell phone, activate a television remote or operate your power wheelchair by tilting your head.

What would you do without computer access? Not to worry. These magicians of technology will adapt, customize and set up your equipment. If you have limited hand function or fine motor skills, they’ll find devices (called electronic aids to daily living) to enhance your independence at home, school or work. These include emergency call devices, door opening systems, switch-operated phones, remote-control lights or fans and remote-control audio systems. They can be operated by infrared signals, radio frequency, WiFi or voice control.

If your ability to communicate is limited, these bioengineers will create what’s called an augmentative communication device, which is a system (other than writing) that enables you to make your thoughts and needs known. Examples range from low-tech, custom-made picture boards to high-tech, computer-based systems.

Custom Orthotics

Orthotics is the rehabilitation specialty that focuses on bracing weak or ineffective joints, muscles and bones. If you need a brace, your spinal cord injury team will work closely with our on-site, certified orthotists who will evaluate your needs, design a custom brace and then adjust it so it’s comfortable.

Driver Rehabilitation

Our Driver Rehabilitation Program is designed to restore independence by putting you back in the driver’s seat. Driver rehab professionals:

• Assist with transportation evaluations and recommendations for car, truck or van modifications
• Identify specific adaptations such as hand controls, seat modifications, lifts or ramps
• Assess your driving skills
• Provide on-the-road driver education and training

Home Evaluations

Before you leave, we want to make sure your home is safe and accessible. Your occupational and physical therapists will either do an on-site evaluation or review your floor plans to see if you need any modifications such as wider doors or ramps.

Neuropsychological Services

It can be difficult to come to terms with the life changing injury or illness that brought you to Mary Free Bed. Our neuropsychologists are psychologists with a doctorate degree who have additional specialty training. They counsel and support you and your family during your rehabilitation, and can also perform specialized testing to assess your emotional status, and education and vocational potential.


If you’re going to spend hours each day in a wheelchair, it needs to be a great fit. OrthoSEAT services uses computerized pressure mapping to help you select the best cushion not only so you’ll be comfortable, but also so you don’t develop pressure sores. Your wheelchair seating solutions may incorporate commercially available components or custom designed modifications. We do it all right here on site.

Peer Support

Key components of rehabilitation, our peer mentoring program and support groups, create an avenue for you to meet people with similar injuries and interests. Peer support activities might be group meetings, one-on-one conversations or outings to wheelchair sports events. Peer support activities are coordinated by your Mary Free Bed recreational therapist or social worker.

Spasticity Management

Spasticity is a common side effect of spinal cord injury and is an involuntary contraction (tightening) of muscles. A certain amount of spasticity can help maintain muscle bulk and assist with movement, but spasticity that is extreme can interfere with functional activities.

Your rehabilitation physician works closely with members of your Spinal Cord Injury Team to monitor and treat your spasticity. Treatment may consist of various medications, including intrathecal baclofen.

Therapy Pool

It’s not your ordinary pool. We can adjust both the water temperature and depth. Aquatic therapy is ideal because the warm water helps muscles relax, giving you greater range of motion while increasing circulation. Buoyancy decreases gravitational forces so you can move more easily.

The pool is a safe environment to work on muscle strengthening, flexibility and activities such as standing or walking that may not be possible yet to do on land. Our pool even has parallel bars.

Our recreation therapists also provide swim evaluations and teach water safety and adapted swimming techniques.

Vocational Rehabilitation

One of your goals will probably be to successfully return to the work force. We collaborate with Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), a governmental agency that helps people with disabilities return to work or find new jobs and become self-sufficient. An MRS rehabilitation counselor is available on-site to give you information about the program, perform an assessment and determine your eligibility. Other MRS services include skills training, job placement, job coaching, assistive technology and transportation.

Frequently Asked Questions