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Remodeled Rehab Apartment Helps Patients Regain Their Independence

Former patient Shaunté Crum joins Richard Riggs, M.D., at the grand opening of Cedars-Sinai's new kitchen facility in the Rehabilitation Unit clinic. Helping patients regain their independence at home is the goal of Cedars-Sinai's newly remodeled apartment in the Rehabilitation Unit clinic, located on the seventh floor of the North Tower.

The fully furnished therapeutic apartment, complete with a kitchen, is designed to help inpatients who have suffered a stroke or other neurological event, or a severe illness or trauma, to re-learn basic skills such as cooking a meal or making a bed. It includes an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) room - similar to a bedroom and office - as well as the kitchen and laundry area.

The apartment was designed with input from occupational therapists in the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit, who collaborated with Facilities Development and project architects. Its kitchen replaces a cooking facility in the Schuman building that was severely damaged and closed after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

"This facility is crucial to prepare patients to transition back to doing daily living activities at home," says Aimee Bender, supervisor for occupational therapy on 7SW. "We teach them to live independently again, despite their physical limitations."

The contemporary-style kitchen is fully equipped with a stove, a conventional oven, a microwave, a refrigerator and a washer/dryer. It also has wheelchair accessible countertops and adapted pots, pans and cooking utensils designed to help patients overcome physical challenges. Countertops are flush with appliances so that patients can slide heavy pots, rather than lift them, and all of the cookware has extra-wide handles that can be gripped easily.

"Opening this kitchen was a top priority for rehab staff, so I want to thank everyone involved in making this happen," said Richard V. Riggs, M.D., chairman and medical director of the Rehabilitation Unit. "Now there is just one more thing we need - a therapeutic swimming pool!"

For more information, please call Carol Dobashi, manager for the Rehabilitation Unit, at ext. 3-3939.