Summer in the late 1940s may call up visions of ice cream trucks, children at the community pool, and lazy afternoons. But the reality was very different, and far more treacherous.
The scourge of polio hit with a deadly and paralyzing vengeance during that time. It at-tacked without warning and produced terrified victims and helpless families. Detroit was a city that desperately needed a champion, and establishing a facility dedicated to providing rehabilitation medicine for both polio survivors and severely injured World War II veterans became a battle cry.
In the late 1940s, what the city’s health care demanded was a single facility to integrate services that would enable persons with disabilities to return to their communities at the highest level of independence, not only physically, but psychologically, socially, and vocationally.
Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM), was founded in 1951 primarily to care for survivors of polio and injured World War II veterans. While the focus of disability has changed over the years, the mission to provide quality patient care, academic excellence and cutting edge research in physical medicine and rehabilitation remains the same.
Today, RIM is recognized as one of the nation’s premier providers of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Its services reach deep into the population of the Detroit area, and one of the distinguishing factors that has helped set RIM apart as a Best of 2011 facility is the more than 1,100 inpatients and over 230,000 outpatient visits conducted there each year.
What also makes RIM unique in the region is that it remains southeast Michigan’s only freestanding hospital that specializes in rehabilitation medicine and research. The caliber of the facility and its research programs has been instrumental in attracting patients and health care professionals from around the world.
Physicians and staff at RIM are engaged in exciting clinical programs and scientific research related to spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and stroke. RIM is home to many innovative programs including the Southeastern Michigan Traumatic Brain Injury System (SEMTBIS). This program is one of only 16 federally funded Centers of Excellence in the U.S. for traumatic brain injury care and research. SEMTBIS was put in place to conduct groundbreaking research into medication effects, course of recovery, psychological factors and treatment outcomes.
Also among the Best of 2011 care RIM provides are programs developed at the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery and the Center for Stroke Recovery. The Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery was created as a world-class facility dedicated to aggressive and innovative treatments that may result in some level of improvement in persons with injured or damaged spinal cords. Likewise the Center for Stroke Recovery is one of the most advanced programs of its kind in the U.S., and features the latest scientific research and therapeutic techniques for improving mobility and speech following a stroke.
The Institute’s clinical capabilities are broad and diverse, and include physiatry, rehabilitation nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, therapeutic recreation, neuropsychology, speech and language pathology, social work, electrodiagnostics, driver training, environmental evaluations and vocational counseling. These programs, along with the Institute’s educational services, are aimed at helping patients return to their lives, homes and communities at their highest level of function and independence.
In addition to RIM’s 94-bed inpatient facility, it operates more than 30 outpatient sites located throughout southeast Michigan.
Wayne State University’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, located at RIM, is one of the largest departments in the nation. The faculty consists of physiatrists, psychologists, physicians with other specialties, and other health professionals with advanced rehabilitation training. RIM has been awarded millions in federal and private grants for rehabilitation research focusing on restoring function, improving quality of life and developing innovative therapeutic techniques.
Backed by experience, clinical expertise and a solid reputation for excellence, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan continues to be a place of hope and healing for the patients and families it serves.