Avera Medical Minute: Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit

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Gene Kriese (middle) during his last day of inpatient rehab at Avera McKennan. Gene Kriese (middle) during his last day of inpatient rehab at Avera McKennan.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then in takes a community of health professionals to rehab a stroke, brain or spinal cord injury patient back to health. Here's more on Avera McKennan's Inpatient Rehab Unit and how it's helping get a Brookings man back on his feet and back in his home. 

Gene Kriese from is learning to walk and talk all over again. He had a stroke 11:30 at night on July 28th after he'd gone to bed.

Gene tears up and says, "I got up to go to the bathroom, tripped over my little dog and fell down. I was trying to get up but couldn't. I was having a stroke.  My dog barked enough to wake up my wife and she called an ambulance.  I owe a lot to that little dog. I really do. He's pretty special."

Gene also says he owes a lot to the team of therapists and nurses in Avera McKennan's Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.

Physiatrist Dr. Tom Ripperda is the Medical Director of the Rehab Unit.  He says, "Most recovery happens within the first few months after they received the injury. The more aggressive the initial treatment, the better the outcome."

Easy Street is just one part of the Rehab Unit, but don't let the name fool you, there is nothing easy about getting to Freedom Way.

Gene says, "I couldn't be in a better place. The therapy department is top notch."

Inpatient Rehab means patients stay in the hospital to make sure their medical issues are being taken care of. While they're here they eat, sleep, dream rehab. They do it 3 hours a day, 5 days a week and staff is here on the weekends. This department just received another 3 year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for their comprehensive, brain injury and stroke specialty programs. They've been accredited since 1988.

Dr. Ripperda says, "We go through the accreditation process to make sure we are doing top of the line rehab, to make sure we provide top notch care. And it helps us review our program every 3 years to make sure we don't have any deficiencies.  It's our way of making sure we are giving the best possible care."

Gene says, "I told Dr. Ripperda I was going to walk out of here on my own two feet and I'm gonna do it. It will work."

Two months of hard work here in Avera McKennan by Gene and his therapists is working. Gene went home to Brookings a changed man, a grateful man.

We hope to go to Brookings in a few months to see how Gene is doing. I (Nancy) also want also want to meet Hunter the 1 year old lab mix that Gene says deserves a lot of treats.


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