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Our specialty services are designed to enhance and enrich your stroke treatment. You’ll work closely with your team of stroke rehabilitation specialists as we help you to get back to your life.

Ask for a referral or call us directly: 616.840.8790

Assistive Technology

Mary Free Bed’s Rehab Technology Center provides assistive technology services, including:

• Augmentative communications
• Computer access
• Electronic aids to daily living

If your family member has limited ability to communicate or interact, he or she may benefit from an augmentative communication device. This is a system (other than writing) that allows your loved one to make thoughts and needs known. Examples range from low-tech (custom-made picture boards) to high-tech (computer-based systems).

Additionally, our rehab technology therapists can help you regain computer access by adapting, customizing and setting up your equipment.

If you have limited hand function or fine motor skills, therapists can help identify devices (called electronic aids to daily living) that may allow enhanced independence at home, school or work.
These devices include:

• Emergency call devices
• Door opening systems
• Switch-operated phones
• Remote-control lights or fans
• Remote-control audio systems

These devices may operate by infrared signals, radio frequency, WiFi or voice control.


Biofeedback is a therapy that helps correct muscle action so you’re better able to function following your stroke. The process includes a comprehensive assessment of your upper and lower limb function, functional activities, balance and gait.

During a biofeedback session, therapists place wire electrodes over your muscles that are working improperly or not at all. When you move the muscle, an electrical signal passes from the electrode to an attached computer monitor. From this signal, an image is produced on the monitor, giving you reinforcement. Using a range of visual and audio cues, biofeedback helps your brain reconnect with parts of your body it wasn’t communicating with before. The feedback, combined with behavioral techniques, helps you re-educate your muscles.

Custom Orthotics

An ankle brace or other customized orthosis may be appropriate if you’re experiencing muscle weakness or problems with sensation. These tools can help with improved and more independent walking. Our on-site Orthotics Department will coordinate to determine which type of brace is best suited for your needs. With your input, your therapist and orthotist work together to determine if you need adjustments or further modifications for optimal performance.

Custom Wheelchair Seating (OrthoSEAT)

Orthotic Seating, Equipment and Assistive Technology (OrthoSEAT) provides high-quality, therapeutically correct wheelchair seating orthoses and other custom assistive devices. These customizations are intended to increase your functionality and to make you more comfortable. For example, computerized pressure mapping may be used to assist in cushion selection or decisions related to pressure sore prevention and treatment. Your wheelchair seating solutions may incorporate commercially available components or custom designed modifications.

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 vehicle modifications for those wishing to resume driving after a stroke
• Assess your driving skills
• Provide on-the-road driver education and training
• Identify specific recommendations for adaptations such as hand controls, seat modifications, lifts or ramps, when appropriate

Home Evaluations

Your living space may need modifications (door widening, ramping) for safe access. Our occupational and physical therapists conduct either on-site evaluations or will review your home’s floor plans to provide you with specific recommendations based on your needs.

Neuropsychological Services

We offer a broad spectrum of neuropsychological services, including specialized testing to assess:

• Emotional status
• Intelligence
• Education
• Vocational potential

Our neuropsychologists also provide counseling and support for you and your family.

Swallow Studies & Dysphagia

You may experience a swallowing disorder or dysphagia (dis-Fay-juh) after your stroke. Dysphagia is a special concern if you’ve had a stroke because it can cause infection and prevent you from getting the nutrition and hydration you need to heal. Your stroke team may use such tools as Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS) or Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) to evaluate swallowing function. Your speech-language pathologist will coordinate with your occupational therapist to maximize swallowing function so you can tolerate the least restrictive diet possible.

Therapy Pool

Water therapy in our therapy pool is ideal for multiple reasons. The warm temperature combined with the buoyancy provided by the water:

• Decreases gravitational forces on your body so you can move easier
• Helps muscles relax so you can experience greater range of motion
• Increases circulation

The pool is also a safe environment to work on increasing muscle strength and flexibility and performing tasks such as standing or movement that may not yet be possible to do on land. Our recreational therapists also are able to provide swim evaluations and teach water safety and adapted swimming techniques.

Therapeutic Technology

Your stroke team may enhance your therapy through use of leading-edge technology devices and techniques designed to help you regain function, mobility and independence. A variety of technologies are available on-site, including:

• ArmeoSpring – a computer-assisted device designed to improve upper body movement and functionality, including range-of-motion and hand-eye coordination
• LiteGait – a harness system that allows you to safely practice walking on a treadmill
• Lokomat Pro – robot-assisted technology that allows you to remember the pattern of walking while supported by a harness and using a special treadmill with robotic “legs”
• Vision Coach Interactive Light Board – a dynamic system that works to promote and enhance visual function
• ZeroG – a gait and balance training system that provides static or dynamic body-weight support so you and your physical therapist can safely work on walking and balance tasks without barriers

Your therapists will determine the most appropriate tools in your recovery based on your individual needs and level of function.

Vestibular Program

Your therapy team will provide specialized treatment if your vestibular system – a complex part of the inner ear that helps you keep your balance and orientation – is damaged during a stroke. Vestibular disorders usually respond to treatment, but recovery time can vary. Most of our patients significantly reduce or eliminate their symptoms after a series of physical therapy sessions – usually about seven sessions.

Physical therapy at our Outpatient Therapy Center can train your body to properly read movement-based signals and not create symptoms. Your physical therapist will assess your vestibular deficits by testing or measuring your:

• Balance
• Walking
• Positional sensitivity
• Eye-head coordination
• Strength
• Joint range of motion
• Coordination

Treatment includes any combination of:

• Balance exercises
• Eye-head coordination exercises
• Training repetitive motions to decrease vertigo and dizziness
• Compensatory strategies
• Education

Visual Impairment Program

Occupational therapy at our Outpatient Therapy Center can help you compensate for any visual changes you’ve experienced after a stroke. Therapy may include a comprehensive evaluation, vision tests and training through the Dynavision 2000 Light Training Board.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Stroke doesn’t just affect older adults. A growing number of working adults are impacted by the effects of stroke. Vocational rehabilitation services are designed to help you successfully return to employment after a stroke.

We collaborate with Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), a government agency whose mission is to assist individuals with disabilities so they may achieve employment and self-sufficiency. An MRS rehabilitation counselor is available on-site to provide you with information, assessment and to determine your eligibility.

Examples of services provided include:

• Skills training
• Job placement
• Job coaching
• Assistive technology
• Transportation

Voice Program

The Voice Program at our Outpatient Therapy Center can improve your vocal function for greater independence at home, work, school and in the community. We’ll begin with a voice and vocal cord assessment. Once there is a diagnosis, your therapists will work with you on relaxation, strengthening and breathing techniques that often help to resolve voice issues. Treatment also includes an educational component so you can learn ways to help protect your voice.

Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports

If you’re experiencing mobility impairments, you may benefit from the athletic activities and competition offered through our Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports program.

We sponsor competitive and recreational teams in these wheelchair sports:

Handcycling and wheelchair racing
Quad rugby
• Other sports

We offer clinics throughout the year so you can explore activities such as:

• Archery
• Canoeing/kayaking
• Downhill skiing
• Golf
• Rock climbing
• Sailing
• Scuba diving
• Water skiing

Frequently Asked Questions