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New Accreditation Affirms Special Tree’s Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program is One-of-a-Kind in Michigan

Special Tree Earns International CARF Accreditation for Multiple Rehabilitation Programs, Adds Spinal Cord Injury

For the first time, Special Tree has added CARF accreditation for their enhanced Spinal Cord Injury Inpatient, Outpatient, and Residential programs.  The new accreditation now makes Special Tree a Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Program (CIIPR), the only organization of it’s kind worldwide to achieve CARF-accreditation for both brain injury and spinal cord injury specialty for adults in a skilled nursing facility.

Special Tree also earned re-accreditation for several of its rehabilitation and specialty programs which it has pursued voluntarily since 1991.  The Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities International (CARF) is...

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Alex’s Story: Heading Home After Spinal Cord Injury

On September 14, 2019 everything changed for Special Tree client Alex when his motorcycle was struck by a driver going 40 mph.  He was thrown 25 feet and vividly remembers thinking “please Lord let me be able to get up from this when I land.”

As an avid biker and veteran truck driver, Alex liked to be on the move.  Now, he found himself immobilized in a hospital bed with a split pelvis, fractures in both hips and legs, and a smashed left hand.  When his body had healed enough to begin therapy, Alex experienced another setback.  When he tried to stand, he couldn’t feel his legs.  “That’s when my doctors first discovered I had a spinal cord injury.” 

After a successful surgery to repair his spinal cord, Alex was admitted to Special Tree’s Inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Program in January 2020 to finally begin re...

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Vision Therapy: New On-Site Clinic with Excel Neuro-Optometric

Special Tree is pleased to announce an expanded service at our Special Tree NeuroCare Campus, a dedicated Neuro-Optometric clinic in the south wing of our building which officially launched this summer.
Many of you know Dr. Danna Haba, O.D., FCOVD, and the wonderful work she has done as our longtime consultant in vision and neuro-optometry. The Excel Neuro-Optometric rehabilitation clinic led by Dr. Haba (based in Shelby Charter Township) is now offering services of optometric vision therapy and optometric phototherapy at a satellite clinic located within Special Tree in Romulus.
The Excel team includes t...

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The SCI Mobility + Recreation Expo is Back!

Special Tree's SCI Mobility + Recreation Expo is back and better than ever!  Join us on Wednesday, August 25th to explore exhibits, see adaptive sports demos, and find resources for living with spinal cord injury.   

Learn more.

Grant Program Donates Adaptive Jeans to Special Tree

Special Tree was among several organizations that received a generous donation of Seven7 adaptive jeans as part of the Runway of Dreams Wardrobe Grant program.  The Runway of Dreams Foundation (RDF) works to ensure people with disabilities have access to mainstream apparel that meets both their physical needs and personal style.   

The Seven7 Adaptive jeans are designed for ease of dressing and feature magnetic and micro Velcro closures as well as reinforced side belt loops instead of buttons and zippers.  The stylish yet functional adaptive jeans are getting rave reviews from clients who began receiving them earlier this month. 

“While our clients can’t wear them out just yet due to COVID-19, it’s been great for our therapy and care staff to see clients enjoying their jeans around Special Tree,” said Specia...

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How Technology Has Improved Child Passenger Safety

In honor of National Child Passenger Safety Week, we’re taking a closer look at the technological advancements that have helped save countless lives - and how they came to be - with guest blogger Rob Hurlston of Fidelis Engineering Associates (FEA).

According to CDC statistics, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States, based on 2017 data. During that year, almost 700 children under the age of 15 died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes and almost 120,000 were injured. While this statistic is startling, it has actually improved between 10% and 30% (per capita) since the 1970s, while the number of miles travelled by car has obviously skyrocketed.

This is due, in no small part, to the advances that we’ve seen, not only...

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Hats Off to Respiratory Therapists! Unsung Heroes of COVID-19

Respiratory Therapists have been described as the unsung heroes of Covid-19. The global pandemic has brought these therapists into the clinical spotlight for many, but the critical role they play in patient care has long been a standard at Special Tree.

The importance of these uniquely trained clinicians, who evaluate and manage the respiratory needs of patients who have impaired lung function, has been amplified as COVID-19 began to spread, and impacted many of its victim’s ability to breathe independently. Across the nation, Respiratory Therapists showed their longstanding skill through tasks such as operating and maintaining equipment to administer oxygen or assisting with breathing (often through a "vent" or "ventilator"), managing therapy to help recover lung function, administering medications to help allevia...

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Tips for Healthy Eating During COVID-19

Maintaining a healthy diet is always important, but even more so during COVID-19.  We asked Special Tree’s Registered Dietitian Sarah Roan-Nguyen for her advice about how to stay well-nourished while at home.

Q:  If you had to self-quarantine for 14 days, what would you do to keep yourself and family well-nourished?

  • Create your own structure: I’m trying to stick to my normal meal and snack times, to maintain my own routine within this time of feeling such uncertainty/chaos. Also, my husband and I eat dinner together each night, to spend quality (screenless!) time together, which was our routine “pre-COVID”. I find it really helps to bring back some normalcy to our daily living.
    Tip: avoid going longer than 4-5 hours between meals or snack, to prevent from feeling...
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Special Tree's Wound Care Program Takes a Big Leap


What started out as an in-service for an advanced wound care device in December 2018 turned into an epic journey to rethink how we do wound care at Special Tree.   After attending the in-service, CEO Joe Richert was so intrigued by the technology, he asked Chief Nursing Officer Lela Hickonbottom how it could help our clients.  “His inquiry really inspired us to rethink our common approaches to wound care and to look for opportunities for innovation,” she said.  It was shortly after the in-service that Lela, Director of Nursing Della Little, and NCC Asst. Administrator Lisa Bray joined forces with Chief Quality Officer Mark Mac Aleese and his team to form a quality task force to evaluate our wound care program and to implement changes to take it to the next level.   

Process Improve...

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Special Tree Wins MIPex Award

The Michigan Performance Excellence Council (MiPex) has awarded Special Tree with the 2020 Michigan Performance Excellence Award, the state’s highest honor for organizations that have demonstrated outstanding performance, leadership, and operational excellence.

“This award really highlights that we are a high-quality organization,” says Mark Mac Aleese, Special Tree Chief Quality Officer. “It demonstrates our superior clinical and business outcomes and that we continually strive for agility, adaptability and overall best practices in every realm.”  He credits several factors in moving Special Tree to the level of quality to win the award including technological advancements such as adding the Zero G system and a new internal lab. 

The MIPex award program is modeled after the National Baldrige Performance Exc...

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