Rehab patients at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center will soon no longer need to trudge out to the parking lot to practice entering and exiting a vehicle. Instead, they’ll just head to the rehab unit’s outdoor patio and slide into the seats of the Kia Soul parked three stories up.
Dick Hannah Kia donated the compact car and, with the help of a NessCampbell Crane and Rigging crew, the vehicle was raised and lowered into its new home on Wednesday afternoon. The crane crew hoisted the car from the hospital’s north parking lot, swung it over the Mother Joseph Building and lowered it into place on the third-floor patio on the south side of the building — all within about 15 minutes.
The crane was on-site already as PeaceHealth Southwest undergoes an air-duct replacement project in the Mother Joseph Building. But the aerial delivery of the vehicle attracted spectators who crowded in front of windows with a view of the patio.
Having the car within the rehab unit increases accessibility for patients. Many patients are dealing with limited mobility or are forced to relearn how to do everyday tasks, such as entering and exiting a vehicle, said Rachel Corey, a physical therapist at PeaceHealth Southwest.
Currently, the rehab staff relies on office furniture to simulate a vehicle or they call on patient family members to bring vehicles to the hospital parking lot for patients to practice their new skills, Corey said. With the Kia donation, however, patients will be able to practice on the real thing, parked under a cover on the patio.
Not only is the skill necessary for patients for safety and practical reasons — most patients will leave the hospital in a vehicle — but it allows the patient to reintegrate into their family and community, Corey said.
“Many people will be positively affected by this,” said Conny Miller, manager of rehabilitation services. “It’s a very meaningful gift.”
But the vehicle isn’t available for patient use just yet. That’s because the floor surrounding it is currently a construction zone.
The hospital is in the middle of renovating that section of the third floor to become the new home for its rehab unit. The unit, named the Benjamin H. McGough, M.D. Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit, is set to open in August. McGough is a founder of Rebound Orthopedic and Neurosurgery and practiced in Clark County for more than 50 years before retiring in 2011.
The rehab unit renovation is the final piece of a $10.5 million fundraising campaign to enhance neurosciences at PeaceHealth Southwest. The renovation will consume the biggest chunk of those dollars: $8.6 million, of which $6 million came from community donors.
The current rehabilitation unit, housed on the fourth floor of the Mother Joseph Building, offers six, double-occupancy rooms and two private rooms. The new unit will offer 14 private rooms, as well as an expanded rehabilitation gym and a dining facility.
While the renovated unit will have the same number of beds as the current unit, the beds won’t have the same restrictions as the current unit. Patient gender, seriousness of injury and infection prevention concerns can limit the availability of beds in double-occupancy rooms.