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Easy Street at Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital

Simulations help patients get back to real life

Easy Street™ at Ascension Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital is a collection of simulated streets, walks, and businesses that gives rehabilitation patients practical experiences as they work toward recovery. Patients apply the skills learned in conventional therapy to "real" situations on Easy Street. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists, as well as nursing and therapeutic recreation use Easy Street for physical and cognitive training.

Easy Street modules simulate a Pizza Hut restaurant, Dillon's grocery store, bank, movie theater, sidewalks, steps and doors, and more. An actual car helps patients learn to get into and out of a vehicle. Photographic murals, street signs, and stoplights add to the realism.

Easy Street eases the transition between therapy and the daily activities of life in the real world and provides the opportunity to polish functional skills within the rehab center's comfort, security, and relative privacy. After mastering Easy Street, many patients visit malls and restaurants with our staff when they are emotionally and physically ready.

Easy street is a benefit for many patients, whether they suffered a stroke or head or spinal cord injury, and regardless of their ability level. Easy Street helps patients learn to maneuver with gait problems, walking aids such as a cane or walker, or a wheel chair.

It motivates patients because they can see a practical reason for their therapy activities. They can improve real skills, and they have fun doing it.

Speech therapists use Easy Street in various ways. In the grocery store, patients can work on naming items, following directions and sequencing skills. They may make a shopping list, locate the items, weigh and bag produce, and solve problems.

At the bank, the patients write checks, balance a checkbook, and make change. Role-playing is used in many of these situations, as well, so patients can practice communication skills. At the restaurant, menus become reading comprehension tools.

Easy Street is the only environment of its type in the region. made possible by the Via Christi Foundation, many generous corporations, organizations, and individual donors. It empowers our patients on their road to recovery.