New technology helps patients in Mercy’s newly-renovated inpatient rehab unit

New technology helps patients in Mercy's newly-renovated inpatient rehab unit

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids is now using some of the most up-to-date medical technology at its newly-renovated inpatient rehab unit.

A patient uses a new piece of rehabilitation equipment at Mercy Medical Center on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 (Taylor Holt/KCRG)

The second phase of the $7 million upgrade project just finished last month.

Shirley Fering is new to the unit. She was sent there after a recent brain and spinal surgery.

“It was a lifesaving surgery,” Fering said.

Only two days in and staff said she’s already making progress in recovery.

“It’s everything I need,” Fering said. “It’s what I need to get back home.”

Physicians in the unit help provide occupational, physical and speech therapy, and now they have new technology to help them do it even better.

“One of the things we’re most excited about our anti-gravity machine, that’s new within our gym,” Carla Schulz, the medical director in the unit, said.

It’s called the ZeroG Gait and Balance System. Schulz said they are the first location in the state to use it on patients.

“To add the anti-gravity, where people can actually be suspended and move their legs without having to bear their weight will only get those muscles re-trained sooner,” Schulz said.

The gym is also home to new balancing equipment to help with coordination, particularly in patients that have been sick for a lengthy period of time.

The hospital will now serve 22 patients, a significant jump from the eight-bed unit they had before renovations. These rooms have new technology of their own too, including their updated call light system.

It gives the ability for doctors, or nurses in a room to call for anything from food service to assistance from another department. They also have their added electronic tracker boards.

“We are the first in the hospital to have these,” another employee in the unit said. “It will show patient information up there, and what time their therapies are.”

It will also show times for medication, and goals for therapy. Physicians say all these additions are not only about getting people home but doing it safely

“That three hours of therapy is the key that can do that,” said Schulz.

Phase three of the unit renovations include more employee services and re-doing the lobby. They plan to have everything done by January 1st.

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