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Ribbon-cutting opens new Shirley Ryan Ability Lab DayRehab Center

The Shirley Ryan Ability Lab DayRehab Center opened
its new facility in Homewood on Oct. 22.

The Shirley Ryan Ability Lab DayRehab Center opened its new facility in Homewood with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 22.
  The new location of the Shirley
  Ryan AbilityLab DayRehab
  Center has doubled the space
  for patients who use the
  equipment in the physical
  therapy area.
 (Provided photos)

Homewood village staff and DayRehab Center employees gathered at 19620 Halsted St. to welcome patients and specialists to a building that is designed to accommodate the important rehabilitation work that has increased in volume since the center first located in Homewood 16 years ago.

Dr. Joanne Smith, president and CEO of the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, said “being in Homewood has been a terrific long run for us.”  More than 8,000 patients have been treated in Homewood at the center’s first facility in an office building at 1055 W. 175th Street. 

Patients of all ages are treated at the Ability Lab for neurological disorders, such as stroke, a brain injury or Parkinson’s disease. Patients have spent some amount of time in a hospital setting and come to the DayRehab Center for intensive, coordinated rehabilitation care. Most will be at the DayRehab Center three days a week, although some will come five days a week.

  Scissors in hand, Homewood
  Mayor Richard Hofeld and
  Dr. Joanne Smith, president
  and CEO of the Shirley Ryan
  AbilityLab, prepare to cut the
  ribbon on Oct. 22 marking
  the official opening of the
  new DayRehab Center.

The DayRehab Center offers “a step down from inpatient rehab,” Smith explained. “It’s not necessarily out-patient rehabilitation because it’s more intensive, but it’s a level of care that we are setting a benchmark for. This is one of the unique levels of service the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab delivers that nobody else in the United States delivers.”

The Ability Lab, previously known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago,  had limited visibility in the original location, and over time the space became cramped. Planning for a dedicated facility started in 2018. The building has a white exterior with windows lining the walls. The white interior has splashes of color and lots of open spaces. 

Kruskinski Construction Company built the building in 2019 for MedProperties, which is leasing it to the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. 
Celebrating the opening are, from left, Homewood
Police Chief Bill Alcott, Homewood Assistant Village
Manager Napoleon Haney, Homewood Trustee
Lauren Roman, Homewood Trustee Jay Heiferman,
Homewood Economic Development Director
Angela Mesaros, Illinois Sen. Napoleon Harris,
Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld, Shirley Ryan
AbilityLab President and CEO Joanne C. Smith,
MedProperties Group CEO Matt Campbell, Krusinski
Construction President Jeff Krusinski, AbilityLab
Administrative Director Jean Vander Sanden
and AbilityLab Clinical Manager Katy Morrison.

Smith urged guests to “look at how modern and technical this facility is. This is white, bright and our patients come to this facility and feel uplifted. They see light, they see bright. Those are all part of the healing process. This will be a facility you’ll be proud to say is part of Homewood.”
Among the 43 staff members employed at the new facility is Kacie Cassidy, an occupational therapist, who said the new building’s living space – a kitchen and bedroom with a washer-dryer and other household appliances – is great for her patients. She expects the design is going to work better for her patients who need to relearn daily living tasks.
Physical therapist Amy Huckstep said the space she worked in was half the size of what’s available in the new building. 

“We have a lot more equipment and we’ll be able to use it better” and work with more patients at once, she said. 

Throughout the building is a ceiling track that allows therapists to hook patients to harnesses giving them the ability to walk and move about the facility. An 370-foot outdoor walking path follows along the north side of the building.  
Speech therapists, orthotists and prosthetists have their own designated areas. For families there with the patients, there is an airy waiting space. Offices also are available for psychologists, physicians and vocational counselors who meet with patients and families. 
Smith said the new Homewood facility is an indication of the growth being experienced by the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. Homewood is one of five DayRehab Center locations.
“We are growing at a pace that you can’t believe,” she said. 

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