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WakeMed To Open New Rehab Center

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RALEIGH — If you were suddenly confined to a wheelchair, think of how different your life would be. People injured in accidents or disabled by strokes have to learn even the simplest things all over again.

You would have to learn how to cook dinner, get in a car, and everything would be different -- and you would probably feel self-conscious. WakeMed's new Health Park gives patients the privacy they need and adds some fun to physical rehab.

Construction workers put the finishing touches on building WakeMed's new Health Park. The one-of-a-kind facility is designed to help rehab patients rebuild their lives.

"Ultimately, what we have to think about is that return back home out there where we have our real goals," said Dr. Robert Morrell, medical director of WakeMed.

Reaching those goals takes a lot of practice and hard work. At the Health Park, patients learn how to take out money from the ATM, cook, hit the putting green, even shop at the general store.

For patients with a physical disability, this facility gives them the chance to relearn basic skills and boost confidence. The center provides therapy without the hospital feel.

Brian Frasure knows all about the ups and downs of therapy.

"I think one of the things most patients hate about the hospitals is it's a hospital and just the whole atmosphere of perceiving this is where I am when I'm sick," Frasure said.

"I was in a traumatic accident when I was 19 and it resulted in the amputation below the knee in my left leg," Frasure said.

He says even common things like getting in and out of a car can be intimidating.

"So that means I have to put all my weight and then use the prosthesis to ease myself into the car," Frasure said.

The athlete in him is impressed with the gym equipment.

"We can put some incline on this and simulate some uphill incline which a lot of amputees have trouble with in the beginning," Frasure said.

It's never easy but as Frazure learned, rehab is the first step to getting back your old life.

"The quicker you get back to doing the things you did before you were disabled, the better you feel about yourself," Frasure said.

Frasure is proof physical rehab really works. He is a gold medal paralympic sprinter and even holds several world records-- his times are almost as good as before his accident.

The public is invited to tour the new Health Park Sunday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. on the main WakeMed campus. The first patients will use the facility on Monday.


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