A giant crane is lifting a car onto the sixth floor of a Cedar Rapids hospital this morning. The vehicle will be used in the rehabilitation clinic at St. Luke’s Hospital to help get patients ready to re-enter the world. Joe Leone, the hospital’s manager of rehab therapy, says most of the patients who will use the car will be in wheelchairs or walking with walkers or canes.
Leone says “These patients sometimes take a very long time, getting in and out, and need to practice that in a sheltered environment. So the car, inside the building, allows us to not have to brave the elements and once we practice inside, we go outside and practice with their own car.”
The car’s engine has been removed but Leone says the Hyundai will still be very useful, even though it’ll be stationary. Leone says “The car will still have battery power so we’ll be able to use the windows and the radio and door locks and those things that you and I take for granted, that may be very difficult for someone after a spinal cord injury or a brain injury.” He says patients will also be able to practice things like loading groceries into the car’s trunk and even changing a tire.
Leone says “Being able to jack the back of a car up and change a tire or just to be able to use good body mechanics to bring things in and out of a car are all really good things to practice with someone who has decreased balance.” A Cedar Rapids car dealership, in association with Hyundai, donated the 2006 Azera to the hospital.