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Rebuilding lives and restoring hope at the new Regional Rehabilitation Centre

A proud moment - Jake Lawless, a former rehabilitation patient at Hamilton Health Sciences (centre), crosses the “finish line” at an event to celebrate the opening of the new Regional Rehabilitation Centre. With Jake (l to r) are Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP for Hamilton Mountain; Craig Laviolette, HHS Board Chair; and Mayor Fred Eisenberger. Holding the ribbon are (l to r) Jennifer Kodis, Director of the Rehabilitation and Seniors’ Health Program; and Donna Cripps, Executive Lead, Seniors’ and Rehabilitation Program and President of St. Peter’s Hospital.

September 1, 2009 signified the enhancement and modernization of rehabilitation facilities in Hamilton. On this day, hospital officials and staff joined local politicians, community members and health care partners to celebrate the opening of the Regional Rehabilitation Centre at the Hamilton General Hospital site of Hamilton Health Sciences.

The new 100,000-square-foot Regional Rehabilitation Centre will have 91 inpatient beds providing care to stroke, spinal cord injury, amputee, trauma, neurobehavioral and acquired brain injury patients.

“This is an exciting day for everyone at Hamilton Health Sciences and our region,” said Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP for Hamilton Mountain. “The government’s investment in the Regional Rehabilitation Centre consolidates current services to one site. The new Centre will give rehabilitation patients access to expanded programs and services in a fully accessible, state-of-the-art healing environment.”

The building has many unique features including:

• an accessible bridge connection to Hamilton General Hospital allowing patients and staff better access to acute medical and clinical services and resources;
• patient rooms designed to accommodate wheelchairs;
• a four level pool for one-on-one therapy;
• onsite patient resources including an office of the Canadian Paraplegic Association;
• outpatient and occupational therapy clinics; and
• a patient and family resource centre.

In addition, an outdoor therapeutic track, the first of its kind in Canada, will allow patients to strengthen their mobility on different surfaces such as stone, wood and pavement in all weather conditions.

“This is a proud day for all of us at Hamilton Health Sciences. We have been looking forward to this new building for many years,” said Murray Martin, President and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences. “I would like to recognize and thank Infrastructure Ontario and our construction partners EllisDon and Prism for all of their hard work and support. It is also my honour to thank the Chedoke Health Corporation for its very generous gift of $10 million in support of this project.”

Jake Lawless, a graduate of Hamilton Health Sciences’ Rehabilitation program, shared his experience of healing with those in attendance. Jake sustained a spinal cord injury nearly 12 years ago through a work-related accident. He spent eight months in rehabilitation at Chedoke.

“Through a lot of hard work, rehabilitation enabled me to return to university, start a new career as a teacher, learn to drive again and become a productive and positive member of society,” said Jake. “I’ve been excited about this new building since the first day I heard about it. I knew it was going to be amazing and I knew it was going to be a huge benefit to patients.”

“Many people have worked long and hard to make this project a reality and I would like to express my thanks and sincere appreciation to all of them,” said Donna Cripps, President of St. Peter’s Hospital and Executive Lead, Seniors’ and Rehabilitation Program, Hamilton Health Sciences. “We know that this facility was built with our patients in mind and we can’t wait to share it with them. We know that a safe and comfortable environment, conducive to the unique needs of the individuals we care for, will greatly improve their quality of life and result in better clinical outcomes.”

Construction on the Regional Rehabilitation Centre began in November 2007. At the peak of construction, there were more than 250 workers on site daily. Patients and staff will move into the Centre throughout September.
Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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