GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is starting a new rehab program for cancer patients named after former first lady Betty Ford. Former first daughter, Susan Ford Bales, announced the creation of the Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation program, part of the hospital's $54 million expansion.
Both Betty Ford and her mother, Hortense Neahr Bloomer, were supporters of Mary Free Bed. Hortense Bloomer was President in 1931-1932 of the Mary Free Bed Guild, the organization that owns the rehab hospital. Betty Ford was a founding member of Mary Free Bed's Junior Guild in 1935.
The new rehab program addresses an often-unrecognized need felt by many cancer patients who live with disability or impairments as a result of their illness or treatments. Studies have shown that many people who suffer from cancer have functional problems caused by treatments, including cognitive difficulties and peripheral neuropathy, but few receive therapy to improve functioning.
The new program is part of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital's current expansion. The six-floor expansion will add 190,000 square feet of patient care space to the 115,000-square-foot hospital located at 235 Wealthy St. SE. Buildings to be renovated include the existing hospital, outpatient therapy and the Mary Ives Hunting center. The expansion will allow the hospital to serve an additional 1,800 more patients a year and special features include:
-All private rooms
-Specialized rehab gyms on patient care floor
-A centralized nursing station
-Consolidation of outpatient services to first floor or main hospital building
-More natural light and access to the outdoors
The project is set to be complete in the spring of 2014 for the new building and two years later for renovation of existing campus. For more information visit www.maryfreebed.com.
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