Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital completes largest renovation in its history

Project at Lincoln hospital cost $57 million

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – After more than four years of planning and construction for the $57 million project, patients at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital will finally be able to move into the newly renovated patient wings on June 1.

This is a regional hub for intensive care physical therapy, bringing patients in from all across the nation.

“Here in Lincoln, we are essentially a destination for the region,” said Daniel Griess, Madonna’s vice president of facility systems. “Most of our patients here have a regional address: Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota. In fact, we have served patients from all over the United States.”

Patients come in at some of the worst times of their lives.

Alex McKiernan was a patient eight years ago after a car crash left him partially paralyzed.

“It was a uniquely terrifying moment in my life to feel waves of numbness wash down legs that I could not move, legs that no longer seemed to be mine,” he said. “Trapped inside my demolished car, I cried in pain and fear as I told my rescuers, ‘I’m never going to walk again.’ I came here eight years ago a broken, paralyzed man.”

Having family with patients is a big part of their recovery, which is why each room is much larger than an average hospital room.  They also have pullout couches, recliners and storage space.

Each patient is there for at least 30 days.

“We will have laundry facilities on-site for them; we will have shower rooms for them,” Griess said. “We will have some patient recreation areas for them to enjoy time outside of rehabilitation, whether it’s playing a game of pool, a game of shuffleboard, or just going in and doing some arts and crafts together as a family.”

Patient independence is a priority in the new design.

Madonna made all the flooring the same height to eliminate any bumps in the path a patient might travel.

It also added automatic doors from the inside of patient rooms, made a more convenient bathroom arrangement, and hung up a lot of equipment so it’s not in the way on the floor.

And the cafe at Madonna is hoping to change the idea of hospital food.

“Really what we want is to try to create a cafe experience that is a destination,” Griess said. “We have created and added a bunch of equipment that we haven’t had before.”

Now the kitchen at Madonna can make Neapolitan-style pizzas, frittatas, rice bowls and paninis.”

Madonna executives are proud to have kept most of the project money within Lincoln.

“Of the $57 million, more than $40 million was spent locally,” Griess said.

The expansion doesn’t add more beds to the facility, but rather makes necessary improvements.  Now it is staffed and ready to serve patients.

Now that the big project — the largest in Madonna’s history — is over, you can expect two more renovation projects on the Madonna campus.

One project will start on June 6 and will add gardens and a conference on the north side.

A renovation of the three-story St. James wing will begin on July 5 and take about 10 months, Griess said.

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