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Media Contact: Katie Solovey
ksolovey@adventisthealthcare.com
240-826-6047

Published on February 28, 2009

Gift of Mobility Van Helps Patients Practice Adaptive Living Skills in Real World Settings

AdventistRehabilitation Hospital of Maryland Enabled By Local High School Students to Help More Patients with Disabilities Return to Independent Living

Rockville , Md.- Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland is able to help more patients with disabilities make a smooth transition from hospital-stay to the community thanks to a gift from a group of local high school students.

The acute rehabilitation hospital is the grateful recipient of a reconditioned van equipped with a hydraulic lift for wheelchair accessibility. The mobility van was donated in February by students at Damascus and Thomas Edison high schools enrolled in the Automotive Trades Foundation (ATF), a program that allows Montgomery County high school students to put into practice their automotive skills for community service learning hours.  Each year students enrolled in the program recondition a van for donation to a community nonprofit organization.

The van will be used by Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland to transport patients with disabilities, due to injury or illness, into the community to practice adaptive living skills before returning home. These skills include opening doors; finding accessible entrances, exits and restrooms; shopping; eating out; maneuvering public streets; and traversing on different surfaces.

"Words can't even describe how happy I am about this," said Lisa Mathews, a recreational therapist at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland, who, along with her colleagues, had to plan community outings around the availability of taxi cabs. "We mimic the real world in the gym with obstacle courses and a stairs-and-rail mock-up but really there is no substitute."

Without scheduling limitations, Mathews and her colleagues anticipate they will be able to expand their outings from taking a group of four patients once a week to three times a week. The van's hydraulic lift also makes it possible to offer outings to patients in power wheelchairs. In 2007, the hospital was able to accommodate 187 patients with community outings. The van is expected to increase the number to more than 1,200 patients per year.

Caption: A reconditioned mobility van was donated to Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland in February by students at Damascus and Thomas Edison high schools enrolled in the Automotive Trades Foundation (ATF), a program that allows Montgomery County high school students to put into practice their automotive skills for community service learning hours.
 
Caption: Damascus student Shannon Schooly greets van recipient Max Carre. Looking on are Damascus students Shawn Nugent and Zack Kimble, and hospital vice president and administrator Doris Reinhart.

Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland  is the first and only acute rehabilitation hospital in Montgomery County.  It offers comprehensive rehabilitation programs for traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, strokes, amputations, orthopedic injuries and surgeries, sports related injuries, work-related injuries, cardiopulmonary conditions and neurological disorders. Adventist Rehab has locations in Rockville and Takoma Park with outpatient services in Rockville and Silver Spring.

The Montgomery County Students Automotive Trade Foundation, Inc. (ATF ) is a non-profit organization established cooperatively by the Montgomery County business and professional community and Montgomery County Public Schools. It provides a unique method of hands-on training for high school students to earn valuable automotive certifications that will prepare them for higher educational opportunities or direct entry into the automotive job market. ATF programs are located at Damascus, Edison, Gaithersburg, and Seneca Valley high schools.

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