You’re facing a unique set of challenges, but you’re not alone.
We can help you fight the debilitating effects of cancer — before, during and after treatment.
Rehabilitation has been shown to improve recovery and restore quality of life. And at Mary Free Bed, we’d like to help you manage that rehabilitation, providing a path for you to deal with the physical, cognitive and emotional issues associated with this disease.
We’re here for every step of your journey. We’re here to help you thrive.
As the first designated and comprehensive cancer rehabilitation program in West Michigan, Mary Free Bed offers personalized care for patients with all types and stages of cancer.
We understand that a coordinated effort between the people on your cancer team will help you better tolerate surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, heal faster and recover more quickly. That’s why we’ll collaborate with your doctors to make sure you get the best care. We also have a team of physician consultants available to meet special care needs.
In 1974, when former First Lady Betty Ford underwent a mastectomy and spoke publicly about it, her openness changed how cancer is talked about and treated. Our program is named the Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program to honor Mrs. Ford (who was raised in Grand Rapids) for her groundbreaking cancer efforts. She and her mother, Hortense Neahr Bloomer, both held leadership positions in the Mary Free Bed Guild that governs our hospital.
The goal is to maximize your independence and quality of life.
Our program provides education, exercise, therapeutic techniques and resources that will help you regain and maintain function, from muscle strength to hand-eye coordination, improved memory and organizational skills.
The duration and intensity of your therapy will depend on your individual needs and tolerance. Research shows the sooner you begin rehabilitation at an appropriate level of intensity, the better your outcome will be.
You’ll work with the same specially trained team of physicians, nurses and therapists during your stay. The focus will be on improving your strength, flexibility, balance and more.
Patients typically do three or more hours of therapy at least five days a week, with recreational therapy activities, rest and visits with family and friends on the weekends.
A variety of specialized technology and rehabilitation equipment is available, including two therapy pools and a ceiling-mounted ambulation system. Dedicated gyms are located on your floor, and you can practice daily living skills in simulated environments, such as an apartment and car.
We know the lives of your family and friends also are significantly affected by your cancer. Your loved ones are an integral part of your treatment team. They will receive support and education, so they can be an important part of your recovery.
We also can connect you with other cancer patients who received rehabilitation with us. They truly understand your situation and often are able to offer helpful insights. Community organizations, such as Gilda’s Club, provide beneficial support programs for patients with all types of cancer and their families.
Depending on your needs, you may see professionals from many disciplines or just a few:
Board-certified rehabilitation physicians, hand-selected for you and your condition(s).
Registered nurses with rehabilitation and wound care certification, as well as nurse technicians.
Occupational therapists to help you resume independence with daily activities, such as brushing your teeth, getting dressed, doing laundry and grocery shopping.
Physical therapists to evaluate your strength, mobility and level of independence, then provide rehabilitation.
Psychologists focus on your emotional well-being, which is just as important as your physical condition.
Registered dietitians to evaluate your nutritional needs and monitor your food intake.
Speech-language pathologists to help you, if necessary, with eating, swallowing, speaking, breathing and so on.
Recreational therapists to help you get back to doing things you enjoy or introduce you to new leisure activities.
A care manager who partners with you and your caregivers to help you adjust to your injury and prepare to return home.
Mary Free Bed provides a full spectrum of care, including specialized therapy, home and community services and life-long follow-up care.
We create a path to manage the physical, cognitive and emotional impairments that can come with cancer and its treatments. Our outpatient services are available either after you graduate from our inpatient program or as a new patient to Mary Free Bed. We also offer a home and community program.
You’ll participate in a thorough evaluation and assessment in a clinic setting. Our cancer rehabilitation team meets weekly to discuss the needs of each patient in the program, which will help your team members stay on top of any changes and adjust your treatment as needed.
We understand it can be exhausting to attend multiple medical appointments, so we schedule appointments in blocks out of respect for your time and energy. All of your therapies will be scheduled in either morning or afternoon sessions. We also offer you the opportunity to coordinate your therapy appointments with your other medical appointments and personal schedule.
Our specialty services are designed to enhance and enrich your life. Your treatment team will work with you to coordinate the services and programs that will best serve you. Here are just some of the services we offer:
Below are questions we often hear from patients with cancer and their families. Talk with your treatment team about specific questions or concerns.
We help patients recovering from all types of cancer, including:
Here are the types of cancer rehabilitation we offer:
Sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s more challenging— the side effects of cancer or the treatments used to fight it.
We help patients cope with a wide range of challenges, including:
Other problems that might be addressed during your rehabilitation include:
Talk to your cancer rehabilitation team about any special concerns you have or problems you’d like to address.