Our Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program offers a variety of athletic opportunities for patients of all ages and skill levels, whether you’re interested in playing a sport in a competitive environment, or you’re seeking a new recreational activity with friends. While you’re still an inpatient, recreation therapists can take you to see team practices and games.
In addition to competitive and recreational teams for tennis, basketball, rugby, softball and other sports, we have clinics — like archery, downhill skiing and golf — throughout the year so you can try activities before you invest in equipment.
Special devices, called electronic aids to daily living, can be beneficial if you have limited hand and arm movements. Our rehab technology therapists create adaptive equipment to enhance your independence at home, school or work. These devices help with everyday tasks, like dialing a cell phone, changing channels with a remote control or operating a power wheelchair. Examples include emergency call devices, door opening systems, switch-operated phones, remote-control lights or fans and remote-control audio systems. They may operate by infrared signals, radio frequency, WiFi or voice control.
Our rehab technology therapists also can customize and set up your computer equipment. If your ability to communicate is limited, these experts will create an augmentative communication device (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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Orthotic Seating, Equipment and Assistive Technoloy (OrthoSEAT) provides high-quality, therapeutically correct wheelchair seating and other custom assistive devices. Our technicians use computerized pressure mapping and other tools and technology to help you select a comfortable cushion that won’t cause pressure sores. Your wheelchair seating solutions may incorporate commercially available components or custom designed modifications.
Our peer mentoring program and support groups are key components of rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed. They help you to meet people with similar injuries and interests. Peer support activities, coordinated by your recreational therapist or social worker, can include group meetings, one-on-one conversations or outings to wheelchair sports events.
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.
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 has parallel bars and an adjustable depth and temperature.
Our recreation therapists also provide swim evaluations and teach water safety and adapted swimming techniques.
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 for returning to work. Other MRS services include skills training, job placement, job coaching, assistive technology and transportation.