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New Summa Rehab Hospital to open soon in Akron
Jim Deckert with Hughes Electric works in the equipment storage space near the gymnasium of the new Summa Rehab Hospital on the Akron City Hospital campus. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal)
A 60-bed hospital dedicated to helping patients recover from strokes, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic surgery and related problems is opening this month in Akron.
The Summa Rehab Hospital on the City Hospital campus is ready to start admitting patients, pending an inspection as early as this week by the Joint Commission, the national group that accredits health facilities, said Cheryl Henthorn, the hospital’s chief executive.
“This is a dream-come-true for our rehab team members,” she said.
The three-story hospital has all private rooms, two day lounges with fireplaces and window views for patients and families and several indoor and outdoor therapy areas, including a 5,000-square-foot rehabilitation gym.
The building also features an “activities of daily living suite,” a one-bedroom apartment where patients can get used to preparing meals, washing dishes, doing laundry and taking care of themselves independently before they go home.
“The whole idea about the rehabilitation process is to integrate them into a higher level of function,” Henthorn said.
The decor has natural hues, wood and stone accents, large windows and artwork throughout “so we could create a healing environment for our patients,” Henthorn said.
The $25 million hospital is a joint venture of the nonprofit Summa Health System and Vibra Healthcare, a for-profit national specialty hospital chain based in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Vibra had been running the rehab units at Summa’s City, Barberton and Wadsworth- Rittman hospitals since 2009.
Summa is the majority owner, with a 52 percent stake in the hospital. The joint venture is leasing the facility from Summa, which obtained financing for the project.
The new hospital has about 200 employees.
The facility allows Summa to consolidate rehabilitation units at City, Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals into one building that is dedicated to caring for patients who need rehabilitation services.
“We could design this building specifically for rehab,” said Dr. Jeffrey Sanderson, the hospital’s medical director. “You just can’t beat it when you have one mission.”
As a result, he said, everything in the building is designed with the needs of patients who need rehabilitation in mind.
For example, the floor is made with a wood pattern that helps patients with balance issues easily navigate the hallways.
An outdoor area with sidewalks, uneven pavement, rocks, grass, ramps and curbs helps them practice getting around in the real world after discharge. There also is a car transfer simulator.
The rehabilitation units at Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman closed last month. The City Hospital unit will remain open until patients can be transferred to the new hospital.
Together, the three hospitals had 42 rehab beds, 18 fewer than the new facility has.
“We’re increasing access,” Henthorn said.
The Summa Rehab Hospital is the second free-standing rehabilitation hospital in the Akron area.
Summa’s rival, Akron General Health System, owns and operates the Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute in Cuyahoga Falls.