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Chicago Heights nursing/rehab center expands

Physical therapist Alprofel Tiu checks out one free weight stands new 1700-square-foot therapy gym Prairie Manor Nursing Rehab Chicago Heights.

Physical therapist Alprofel Tiu checks out one of the free weight stands in the new 1,700-square-foot therapy gym at Prairie Manor Nursing and Rehab in Chicago Heights. | Ginger Brashinger~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 28, 2014 6:02AM



Bucking a recession-driven trend for businesses to downsize, Prairie Manor Nursing & Rehab Center at 345 Dixie Highway in Chicago Heights has expanded its therapy facilities in hopes of meeting the needs of the community, including an aging baby boomer generation.

A 1,700-square-foot therapy gym was completed in November, Prairie Manor administrator Mary Rose Stucker said, to address the “largest interest (for services) in the community.”

Stucker said while Prairie Manor always has been a skilled facility for long-term residents, “what we are noted for is our short-term care.

“The partners of Prairie Manor took a look at what the services were out there that were being provided and ... decided that this was something that we were already doing but had limited space for,” Stucker said.

Infinity Rehab provides therapy services, which include physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Stucker said the new space has advantages the previous therapy room did not have.

“The problem was that we had it split up,” Stucker said. “We had physical therapy in one area, and we had occupational therapy in another. This new gym has opened it up so we have all the therapy all-inclusive in one place. It really is a beautiful room.”

The facility boasts an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, which uses air pressure technology to reduce stress on joints and provide a “fall-safe way to walk or jog,” according to its brochure.

Chicago Heights resident Dorothy Narcisi, 77, said she is using the specialized treadmill to regain her strength and endurance after a fall two months ago. She said she already has seen results.

“Last year I couldn’t even walk to my car without gasping for air,” Narcisi said. “Now I can do 20 minutes on the treadmill.”

Other types of equipment include free weights, a crossfit trainer, therapy cycles, and equipment for electrical stimulation therapy and guided ultrasound for joint injections.

Stucker said two staff physiatrists, specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, are available to direct therapy, treatment for wounds and pain management. A speech therapist is trained in speech and swallowing disorders caused by disease and aging.

Prairie Manor originally was built in 1988 by a group of physicians affiliated with St. James Hospital. In 2002, it was sold to the current owners and is managed by Extended Care Clinical, LLC, according to a company representative.

The facility is more than 65,000 square feet and has 148 beds. Stucker said occupancy averages about 90 percent and is evenly split between long-term and short-term residents.

Plans for a second phase of new construction in the coming weeks include first-floor rehab space. The main lobby will be remodeled and rooms will be added for short-term residents who currently stay on the third floor during rehab.

“Now we’re bringing our short-term residents down to the first floor where our new gym is located,” Stucker said.

A newly constructed hair salon and day room are in the process of being furnished, Stucker said.

Stucker said outpatient therapy is a possible future third phase.

“We do have the option for it when we put in the new construction. We took that into consideration,” Stucker said.



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