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Published on February 06, 2018

Avera McKennan Opens New Inpatient Rehab Unit


Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center is opening a new Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit on the fifth floor of the Prairie Center, located on the main hospital campus in Sioux Falls.

This project is part of $174 million in projects announced in April 2017 on the new Avera on Louise campus at 69th and Louise, as well as the main hospital campus.

The unit is located in what was previously shell space in the Prairie Center, set aside for future use. The unit has 24 private rooms which are located around the perimeter of the fifth floor, as well as greatly increased space to accommodate best practices and the latest technology in rehab care.

This unit is post-acute meaning that patients go into the rehab unit after an acute hospital stay. Yet the unit is backed by all the resources and support of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

This unit cares for patients ranging in age from adolescents to seniors with a range of conditions and diagnoses including stroke, head and spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, amputation, Guillain-Barre syndrome and more.

“Patients in rehab often have to relearn everything from getting dressed, to getting in and out of a car. They have had their whole lives turned around. This will be a healing, caring environment where this relearning can take place with the help of experienced rehabilitation physicians, and speech, occupational and physical therapists,” said Dave Flicek, President and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

Patients stay in this unit longer than anywhere else in the organization – average length of stay is 12 to 14 days.

Special features of the unit include:

  • 24 private patient rooms, each with its own private bathroom with heated floors and a large tiled roll-in shower.
  • A 5,200-square-foot therapy gym, and four nursing stations are located at each corner of the unit for close proximity to patients.
  • Elements throughout the unit that help patients relearn life activities. For example, a restaurant booth, curb ramp, and tub rooms where patients can practice getting in and out of a tub.
  • Amenities for patients and families including a buffet style café with height-adjustable tables, a public space wired for computers and other electronic devices, and a roof-top outdoor garden.
  • There are two bariatric rooms that are extra large with a ceiling lift in one. This lift may also be used for patients with spinal cord injuries.
  • A conference room, family sitting area, offices for staff and satellite offices for physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians.
  • Specialized technology including:
    • Solo-Step, an overhead track and harness system designed to protect patients from falling during the rehabilitation process
    • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) lower extremity and upper extremity bikes
    • Neurosensory integrator
    • Bionic leg

Avera McKennan’s rehab program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with an additional stroke subspecialty accreditation.

“Our patients need an environment that helps them recover well, and where they can also feel at home. The Prairie Center is known for its patient-centered environment for world-class cancer care and outpatient surgery. Now, rehab is extremely proud to be here as well,” said Thomas Ripperda, MD, Avera Medical Group physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. “Avera now has rehab facilities that are on a par with nationally known centers.”


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