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Mary Free Bed opens ReCOVery Unit for COVID-19 patients

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – There is a new rehabilitation program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital for patients recovering from COVID-19. The dedicated “ReCOVery Unit” is serving patients who need intensive rehabilitation but still test positive for the virus. Whether COVID-19 is a primary or secondary diagnosis, these patients are focused on one thing: safely returning home to their loved ones.

The 18-bed ReCOVery Unit opened last Thursday, April 16. By the end of today, we’ll have eight COVID-19 positive patients receiving rehabilitation in the ReCOVery unit, and we’re following another dozen patients from across the state.

Both physical and emotional recovery is under way. Most of the patients haven’t seen their families in more than three weeks. They’ve shared with our staff how extremely frightened they were when they became critically ill and were hospitalized. We’re replacing that fear with equal doses of love and hope.

“Rehabilitation is essential to maximize recovery for these patients,” says Mary Free Bed’s CEO Kent Riddle. “Our hats go off to those at acute-care hospitals who saved the lives of these patients. It’s now our turn, and our staff is excited to help the patients get their lives back.”

The ReCOVery Unit is in a physically secluded area of the hospital, and staff remain there for the duration of their shift. We adhere to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) precautions and more to keep patients and staff safe.

But while the ReCOVery Unit is geographically isolated, for the first time in a long time, our patients will enjoy a bit of interaction – with each other. Because of the architectural configuration of this area, we’re able to bring the patients together this week for our first ReCOVery Support Group meeting.

Mary Free Bed ReCOVery Unit Fact Sheet

Why we developed this unit:

  • Our mission is to provide hope and freedom through rehabilitation
  • These patients:
    • Need hope and rehabilitation to regain their lives (freedom)
    • Have experienced a multitude of significant problems stemming from their illness and prolonged hospitalization

ReCOVery Unit details:

  • 18 private rooms
  • Treating COVID-19 positive patients who are stable and need rehabilitation
  • Isolated area of hospital
    • Architecturally separate from rest of hospital
    • Staff and patients don’t walk down hospital hallways to access unit
    • Unit is entered from outside and staff leave via a stairwell that opens outdoors
    • Constructed physical barriers between unit and rest of hospital

Additional safety precautions:

  • We’re following CDC guidelines and more to keep everyone at Mary Free Bed safe
  • Throughout the hospital, staff are wearing masks and maintaining social distancing
  • Within the ReCOVery unit
    • Staff wear personal protective equipment, which is put on and removed on the unit
    • Patients wear masks
    • Dedicated therapy gym for these patients
    • Staff members stay on unit for entire shift

Admission criteria:

  • Meet qualifications for inpatient rehabilitation
  • No fever for at least three days without temperature-reducing medication
  • At least seven days since the COVID-19 diagnosis
  • Medical condition that is clearly improving

Patient profiles vary:

  • Patients require intensive rehabilitation to be able to safely return home
  • The many side effects of this virus are conditions we regularly treat:
    • Significant deconditioning
    • Respiratory conditions
    • Stroke

Length of stay

Will vary between individual patients depending on their needs.

Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since 1891, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults with brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. The combination of more than 110 specialized medical and sports rehabilitation programs and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve extraordinary clinical results. Additionally, the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network includes over 30 acute care hospitals across Michigan and Indiana. For additional information, visit maryfreebed.com .

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One Comment


Now that there are more tests available, please arrange for all asymptomatic healthcare workers to be tested as the Governor has suggested.


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