Health officials at a new rehabilitation hospital hope to provide seamless all-in-one care to a variety of patients.
Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Oklahoma City, 5401 W Memorial Road, is set to open in mid-October. The 50-bed facility has units for stroke or brain injury patients or people who require orthopedic rehabilitation.
“Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital will serve patients who need rehab after an injury (or) after an illness,” said Sharon Smeltzer, the hospital's chief executive officer. “We will be focusing on returning the patient to their home or the highest level that they can return to.”
Throughout the hospital, pseudo-apartments serve as places where patients will readjust to daily living. For example, some of the apartments have a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a bed, bathroom and kitchen.
Gyms in each unit are specific to the needs of the patients of that unit. In the brain injury unit, windows are placed higher to allow sunlight to enter but also provide privacy as patients recover.
The windows in the hospital can handle hurricane-force winds, meaning if a tornado throws a brick at one of the windows, it wouldn't necessarily break, said Zach Schmidt, the director of business development at the rehab hospital.
Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City has had a small rehab unit for several years.
Schmidt said one of the benefits of having a hospital-specific rehab building is that the entire facility is focused on rehabilitating patients.
“A lot of times, if the rehab is a unit in the hospital, the food will be brought up from the cafeteria to the unit and served there,” Schmidt said. “In this, the patients come up and make the selection of their own food. It's a little bit more realistic and in a real-world setting.”
Smeltzer said each unit has a small day space that can serve as a meeting place for families to talk about the upcoming changes in their loved one's life.
“Those of us who have been in rehab for many, many years know that there's a lot of family talk that has to take place when you're in rehab,” Smeltzer said. “Usually, it's that final decision-making — are we going to be able to go home? What's it going to look like if we go home? Are we going to unfortunately have to go to a nursing home?”
Smeltzer expects to see a wide age-range of patients and a variety of injuries treated at the hospital. The hospital staff includes rehabilitation nurses, a psychologist, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists and social workers.
There are also bariatric rooms designed for patients who are overweight or obese and might need a larger bed and other related accommodations.
Patients played a role in the building's design, officials said. In the brain injury unit of the hospital, only one wall in each room is painted and the overall wing is purposefully designed in a way that's less stimulating.
In the outdoor patio area, there's a stand-alone door that patients can use to practice going through. There are also different types of surfaces, such as pavement and hilly grass areas, that patients can practice walking across.
“Every aspect of this facility is focused on rehabilitation,” Smeltzer said.