Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Facility - Younker Rehabilitation

Our Commitment as a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Facility

Our dedicated team of rehabilitation experts specializes in spinal cord injury rehabilitation, brain injury rehabilitation, amputee rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation and other complex conditions to help patients transition back into their homes. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, recreational therapists, providers, nurses, care managers and social workers work with you and your family to set goals for improved function and prepare you for a successful discharge.

Our primary emphasis is on empowering you with the tools and education you will need to maximize the amount of function you can regain through rehab and live as independently as possible.

For a referral to Younker Rehabilitation contact us at 515-241-4499 or DM_RReferrals@unitypoint.org


The History of Younker Rehabilitation

As a result of wounded veterans returning from WWII and the polio epidemic, the idea of a rehabilitation center was born. In 1959, Younker Rehabilitation began serving people with illnesses and physical limitations.

Since that time, Younker Rehabilitation has been a recognized rehabilitation leader and continues to provide new and innovative programs to meet the needs of our patients and regional community.

Why UnityPoint Health?

The point of unity is you. UnityPoint Health has a vision for healthcare, and it starts with you,"Best outcome for every patient, every time."

As part of UnityPoint Health - Des Moines and an extensive healthcare system, Younker Rehabilitation offers services to meet a variety of rehab or medical needs both while you are a rehab patient and following your discharge. Your rehab may continue in one of our many outpatient therapy sites or a network of physician offices. We also offer assistance with medical equipment, home care and numerous other options. As part of UnityPoint Health, we provide a network of healthcare services throughout Iowa and parts of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Read more about the history of Younker Rehabilitation "For the People's Health," by William C. Page

Experience in Rehabilitation

Younker Rehabilitation has been a recognized leader in providing a patient-centered rehabilitation experience since opening in 1959, successfully assisting patients and families to reach their optimal level of function following illness or injury. Please feel free to read our 2015 Outcomes Report.

Younker Rehabilitation is a Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accredited organization, most recently receiving a Three-Year Accreditation in February 2015. This means we demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit our commitment to offering programs and services that are accountable, measurable and of the highest quality.

The most recent CARF survey stated: "The rehabilitation unit, patient rooms, treatment areas and multipurpose areas are spacious, beautiful, and well-designed to meet the needs of the patients served and their support systems. The clinical staff and support staff are dedicated to meeting the needs of the patients served and working to achieve their goals. Family conferences are a strength of Younker Rehabilitation. The rehabilitation program makes every effort to include the family of the patient as well as contact other family members to keep them up-to-date and involved in the transition plans."

Younker Rehabilitation has been accredited by CARF for 30 years, since 1985, and this is the 15th consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body has awarded Younker Rehabilitation. This represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization's substantial conformance to the CARF standards.

For more information on the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website.

Knowledgeable Rehabilitation Staff

Our team of more than 60 clinicians and support staff have a combined 500+ years of rehabilitation experience. The interdisciplinary team at Younker Rehabilitation consists of physiatrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, recreational therapists, nurses, a social worker, care managers, patient care techs and dietitians/dietary aides. Our team works together to maximize our patients' independence and safety through individualized treatment and education. Every member of our team works collaboratively and communicates openly with you to meet your needs and achieve your goals. Many of our clinicians hold specialty certifications and advanced degrees. We have nine Certified Brain Injury Specialists (CBIS) on staff, and several of our nurses are Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses.

Our Facility

Our award-winning facility is designed with healing colors and themes of nature, including our own oak tree, a symbol of strength and endurance, to support Younker Rehabilitation's holistic person-centered approach to better serve our patients and families. We have brought natural elements into a neighborhood setting. Our therapy gym, Younkerville, is a park-like area with a walking track, benches, studios for treatment sessions and a mock apartment that simulates real-life situations, in addition to state-of-the-art equipment (see Advanced Technology in Physical Rehabilitation). 

We have 23 private in-patient rehabilitation rooms with accommodations for family and a large accessible bathroom, as well as a transitional room for families to use as they prepare for discharge to home. The community center offers areas for dining, a full kitchen, a pool table and games for recreation therapy and socialization. Some of the features and highlights of our facility include:

Full kitchen

Our kitchen was designed to include all of the things found in a typical kitchen to allow our patients to practice homemaking in a real-world environment. The full kitchen has an oven, refrigerator, microwave, toaster, coffee pot, and dishwasher. All therapies may use this space, but often the occupational therapists will work with patients in the kitchen, practicing reaching into cupboards, maneuvering a walking device while transporting food, learning the use of one-handed techniques, and working on safety with use of a stove top, oven or while cutting food. A patient may practice heating up a microwave meal to improve their ability to read and follow instructions. A patient may also plan a meal, make a shopping list, and prepare this meal to work on sequencing, problem-solving, and other higher level thinking skills. This allows our patients to prepare for home and learn how to complete cooking after their injury.

  • Speech therapy may use the kitchen to identify common items and how they are used. 
  • Physical therapy may lay out an outline of the barriers that may exist in a patient's own kitchen at home so that the patient can practice maneuvering around them during a functional task.
  • They may also work with a patient to retrieve items from various heights to work on balance.

Laundry room

There is a laundry room set up in the unit to work on the physical and cognitive skills required for this daily living task. The therapists may work together on the goals of:

  • Balance and strength to stand while using the washer or transferring clothing to the dryer 
  • Problem-solving skills to decide what needs to be washed and what settings to use 
  • Memory and recall to remember to return to move laundry to the dryer or to retrieve laundry after finished 
  • Use of adaptive equipment to assist if a patient is unable to stand or reach to access all items needed in the laundry room

Transition room

This apartment-like room allows patients and caregivers to practice the skills learned in therapies and with nursing in an environment similar to at home. While the patient and caregiver are encouraged to manage bathroom tasks, take him/herself to therapies, and practice medication management by calling staff when it is time for medications, the staff is always available to assist, if needed. This allows for a safe "trial" before going home to determine any possible situations which may occur when a patient is trying things on their own and/or allowing family members to practice being the caregiver before leaving the hospital. Discharge can be a stressful time for patients and families, and the use of either the transition room or modified "transition" in the patient's hospital room can help to alleviate many of the worries that can occur. The transition room features:

  • Queen size 'normal' bed 
  • Fridge for simple meal prep 
  • Table and chairs for family style meals 
  • Pull-out futon couch for family members or caregivers

Mock Apartment

In the therapy gym, we have a dedicated room set up like an apartment. It has a full size 'normal' bed, dresser, closet, functioning storm door, front door, window, couch, recliner chair and vacuum. These items allow therapy to practice in more standard environments tasks such as:

  • Getting up from a fall 
  • Getting on and off a regular bed 
  • Making a regular bed 
  • Putting clothes away in a dresser or closet 
  • Vacuuming the floor 
  • Opening the front door 
  • Practicing entering over doorways 
  • Getting on and off a couch

Home assessment

After an injury or illness, families and patients may need to look at their home to determine if changes are required to make the space more accessible or safe. At Younker Rehabilitation, we know this can be a daunting task for a family who may not know where to start. Our therapists will work with patients and families to determine discharge plans, including adaptations required to allow the patient to return home. The therapist will ask families for pictures or descriptions of their home (number of floors, how many steps, etc.). A questionnaire has been put together by our therapists that helps families know what areas should be measured in the home. The family member then returns the questionnaire to therapy so that this information can be incorporated into the treatment plan. For example, therapists can set up a simulation of the patient's bathroom at home using the measurements provided in the questionnaire, allowing a patient to practice transfers as they would be done at home.

Additionally, this allows therapists and families to identify any changes or equipment that may make the patient's return to home more successful. Some modifications may include: grab bars, ramped entry, and shower chair/bench.

Transitioning Home After Rehabilitation

Throughout your rehabilitation stay, your rehabilitation team will assess your improvement and provide consistent communication with you and your family regarding how you are progressing and preparing to return home. You, your family and your care team will determine you are ready for transition to the next phase of your rehabilitation plan when:

  1. You have met your goals 
  2. Three hours of therapy is too intensive 
  3. You no longer require 24 hour rehabilitation nursing care and frequent provider involvement

When you are ready for a safe return home, we will work with you to coordinate any equipment or additional services as needed for you. Some of the community services you might utilize are: home health care, meals delivered to your home, transportation, outpatient therapies, medical equipment and provider referrals. At this point, you will have worked extremely hard to achieve this goal, and we are committed to working hard with you and your family to see that going home is well-organized, and rehabilitation can continue smoothly.