Mary Free Bed opens ReCOVery Unit for virus patients


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids now has a dedicated unit to guide COVID-19 patients as they face a long road to recovery.

The new ReCOVery Unit, which opened April 16, serves patients who tested positive for the virus and are in need of intensive rehab.

“These are patients who are so debilitated or weakened, they have little function or they have functional deficits, so our job is to get the multidisciplinary team at Mary Free Bed to really rehabilitate them to get them home safely,” CEO Kent Riddle said.

Riddle said the unit had eight patients as of Tuesday and was expected to add two more Wednesday.

The unit has 18 private rooms and is in a secluded area, which Riddle described as almost like a separate hospital. Staff and patients do not need to walk through hallways to access the unit. Staff working in the unit remain in the area throughout their entire shift.

Riddle said the patients have been isolated from everybody, including their families, for weeks. At Mary Free Bed, they will be able to have more interaction, including taking part in a special support group.

“Because they have antibodies in their system from COVID … it’s safe for them to interact. Part of rehabilitation is the socialization that occurs between patients when it can happen. That’s a part of this,” Riddle said.

He said Mary Free bed put out a notice to all of Michigan, offering up the unique recovery space.

“We believe it will continue to grow throughout the spring and the summertime as the need increases,” he said. “We may need to expand beyond 18.”

More information on how Mary Free Bed is handling COVID-19 can be found on its website.