CARBONDALE – NeuroRestorative has moved to a larger facility on Reed Station Road in Carbondale.

NeuroRestorative offers community-based programming for adults, children and adolescents with acquired brain injuries and other neurological challenges.

The new facility is about 20,000 square feet, and it has many new opportunities. The building has many different rooms and programs to help participants in the program reintegrate into everyday life.

Programs include physical therapy, woodshop and a computer lab to help with cognitive ability. There is also a track room where individuals can use cardio machines, learn to walk again and perform other tasks.

Michelle Vaughn, clinical director at NeuroRestorative said physical therapists are there to provide motivation and help restore participant’s abilities.

“It is very important to us that we do not just get somebody out of the door with a cane or walker,” Vaughn said. “Here we are working on perfecting the gait pattern, so hopefully they do not have to go home with a cane or walker.”

The gait pattern is the way people walk, and everyone's is unique. A person’s gait can be greatly affected by injury or disease. By evaluating the gait pattern of an individual, a therapist can determine specific weaknesses and adjust rehabilitation programs as needed.

The facility will also offer water therapy in the next few months once the pool is constructed and installed in the building.

Vaughn said NeuroRestorative has about 120 people living in its assisted living program.

“We have actual houses that we either own or lease out in the Carbondale community that are for the people in the program,” Vaughn said. “They are out in the community in all parts of Carbondale and some of the houses have 24 hour staff in them while others may only have staff in the day time and not overnight.”

She said there are apartments where individuals in the program are living on their own and only use staff if absolutely needed.

NeuroRestorative will assist clients who are deemed ready to live on their own with a place to go after they are done with therapy.

“We are working on independence,” Vaughn said. “That is always the goal.”

She said the program will place people in certain houses where more nursing services are readily available if somebody has a major disorder or just got out of the hospital. Generally, the people that live further away from the therapy center are the most independent.

Chris Williamson, regional vice president said the business outgrew the old facility on Illinois 13.

“We were doing much more transporting of clients from their homes to the facility,” Williamson said. “My vision was to have a large building where people can come from the entire day so we didn’t have to spend so much time driving.”

Williamson said the food program is different now as well at the rehab center.

“Before we would have our direct care staff do the grocery shopping, and we might have 30 staff shopping during the day,” he said. “Now our food is delivered, and we distribute the good to the homes.”

Williamson said the average stay with NeuroRestorative is about six month, but there have been people that have been in the program for more than 20 years.

He said the rehab center receives referrals for clients all over the country.

“We may get a referral from a hospital in Indiana, so we will have a person go and look at the person and their records to determine if that person meets our criteria,” Williamson said. “If so, we get approval from insurance and that person is placed in our environment and into rehab.”

NeuroRestorative is the only brain rehab center in Southern Illinois and the largest provider of brain injury rehab in the country, said Williamson. The provider is doing brain injury rehab in 22 states.

“I like to tell people it is like going away for college,” Williamson said. “Ours is a home-like setting, so it is like an interim stop between the hospital and the client’s real home.”

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Dustin Duncan is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering Carbondale.

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