When most of us get in and out of our vehicle several times each day, we think nothing of it. But for those with severe injuries requiring rehabilitation, even the simple act of sitting down behind the wheel is strenuous and difficult at best.
It has always been challenging to recreate the physical movements needed to get in a car in a rehab setting. That was before Larry Boser’s and Scott Logan’s Auto Body students from Dakota County Technical College teamed up with Fairview-University’s Acute Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis to install an actual car in the center itself.
Using a car donated by General Motors, which was used for a similar purpose at Ebenezer’s Rehab Center since 1999, the DCTC students transported the car with the help of Lehman’s of Bloomington into the new center and installed it to Fairview’s specifications.
Boser said the process helped students learn valuable skills, in addition to assisting patients in need of this therapy.
“Students get community service credits for volunteering to install the car,” he said. “We get and we give.”
DCTC student Keenan Brown also appreciated the opportunity to give a hand and, at the same time, learn something about his chosen field.
“I’ve never taken a car apart in this fashion before,” Brown said. “It’s a substantial operation. I learned that you can take apart a car, bring it up five flights of stairs, and put it together again. Plus, this is a good cause. I’m glad we’re helping people out.”
Officials receiving the vehicle were thrilled with the addition to their rehab program.
“It’s an amazing car – a car without an engine that still allows patients to travel many miles,” said Fairview Director of Rehabilitation Diana Nowatzki.
According to Fairview, the car will be used in combination with other therapy treatments so patients can regain strength and autonomy in real-world applications. A session with the car will include therapists, family members and caregivers assisting a patient in and out of the vehicle.
“The car allows independence and family or caregiver interaction and support,” said Center Director Linda Gustafson. “It brings the outside world into the center.”
Fairview officials said the center opened on Dec. 15 to treat patients suffering from function loss due to health issues such as traumatic injury, illness and disability.And now, these folks will find the road to recovery a bit less challenging, thanks to DCTC.