Whether you've been in a serious accident, had a hip replaced or suffered a stroke, you're going to need rehabilitation assistance and likely more than you expected. These scenarios present a problem for residents in Eastern Jackson County. Where does one go when they are deemed ready to leave the hospital, but not ready to go home?

Between Blue Springs and Columbia, Mo., there is only one place - St. Mary's Medical Center. Because every case is different, rehab plans must be 100 percent customized for each patient and involves working on relearning skills that are lost to aid each patient in achieving an optimal level of functioning. A comprehensive rehab center that can provide that level of personalized approach is rare.

In the past, typically the doctor and social worker for a patient were responsible for the discharge plan following a hospitalization. That usually meant moving the patient to home health, or a skilled nursing facility, neither of which may actually be a good fit for the long-term benefit of the patient.

With the advent of patient "navigators" in recent years, we're able to do a better job of discerning what will get the patient home-with the best level of function that can be achieved.

The Rehabilitation Center at St. Mary's serves patients suffering from:

Stroke (CVA)

Brain injury

Spinal cord injury


Hip fracture

Major multiple trauma


Active polyarticular rheumatoid arthritis (Juvenile), psoriatic arthritis and seronegative (a range of -conditions that include gout, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, psoriasis and others)

arthropathies (joint abnormalities)

Systemic vasculidities (blood vessel inflammation) with joint inflammation

Severe or advanced osteoarthritis

Multiple Sclerosis

Parkinson's Disease

Polyneuropathy (degeneration of peripheral nerves that spreads toward the center of the body)

Guillain Barre' Syndrome (an acute form of polyneuritis, often preceded by a respiratory infection, causing weakness and often paralysis of the limbs)

Other progressive neurological impairments

The core to all rehabilitation efforts is focused on preserving the family unit. The staff of the rehabilitation center works with the patient and family to:

Help in establishing realistic and functional goals.

Allow patients and their families to practice newly acquired skills by using the independent living apartment in the unit prior to discharge.

Partner with other providers to assure the patient receives the needed level of care after discharge from the unit.

Provide opportunities for reintegration into the community, when appropriate, by taking patients on therapeutic outings in our wheelchair accessible van.

Who qualifies? Rehabilitation services are provided for patients age 18 and older who:

Have a medical necessity

Are motivated and have an ability to participate in therapies at a minimum of three hours at least five days per week

Have an identified discharge plan

Have a need for rehabilitation nursing and medical care 24 hours a day

Show potential for functional improvement

Have not completed an inpatient rehabilitation program for the same injury or illness, unless a documented change in their condition has occurred.

As our population grows older and values independence more than ever, we owe it to our patients to deliver the best outcome that can be expected. This committed group of professionals at St. Mary's Rehabilitation Center, which has seen virtually no turnover in the existence of the department, is dedicated to that purpose on a daily basis.

Kelly Logan is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, specializing in Rehabilitation Medicine at St. Mary's Medical Center in Blue Springs.