Inpatient Stroke Rehabilitation Program - Younker Rehabilitation

The Best Care for Stroke Rehabilitation 

Our Stroke Rehabilitation Program

Every second counts for stroke victims. That's why UnityPoint Health - Des Moines' Certified Primary Stroke Center is designed to provide rapid response and treatment of acute stroke patients. We ensure the highest level of quality stroke care and support so patients can maximize their recovery potential. Our Primary Stroke Center certification means our program complies with the highest national standards for safety and quality care for inpatient stroke rehabilitation, and it shows the community our commitment to doing things well for people experiencing strokes. It also signifies the services provided at our hospital include the critical elements needed to achieve long-term success in improving stroke outcomes for our patients.

Younker Rehabilitation is specialized in the ability to treat patients with strokes. In 2015, approximately 44 percent of our patients had a stroke diagnosis. Our goal, regardless of the severity of your stroke, is to get you back to living a high-quality, productive life with your family. Eighty percent of our stroke patients successfully return to community living. It is important to realize that stroke affects every person uniquely. Our stroke rehabilitation care plans are individualized and designed to address the functional abilities affected by your stroke.

Our Stroke Rehabilitation Team 

Younker Rehabilitation's interdisciplinary team of clinicians, led by a physiatrist, work together to maximize your independence and safety through individualized treatment and education. The nurses and patient care techs, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, recreational therapist, social worker and care managers will collaborate to optimize your recovery and address any impairments you may be experiencing due to your stroke. Other members of your treatment team may include specialist caregivers such as psychiatrists, internal medicine physicians and dietitians.

  • Physical therapists will assist with improving independence and safety with transfers and walking, normalizing tone and increasing strength, restoring postural control, balance and coordination.
  • Occupational therapists will focus on training techniques to increase independence with daily living tasks such as grooming, hygiene, dressing and bathing. They will also address any difficulties with vision and perception, sensory loss in the upper extremity, abnormal tone and weakness. They are experts at incorporating custom-made or commercial adaptive equipment into treatment to maximize functional independence. 
  • Speech language pathologists may address swallowing problems, cognitive (thinking) problems and speech and language difficulties. 
  • Recreational therapists assist with psychological and social issues that often interfere with coping and adjustment following a stroke. Younker Rehabilitation has a strong Stroke Peer Partner Program, comprised of post-stroke volunteers that are available to talk with you and your family about coping and adjusting to life following a stroke. A visit with a peer partner may be facilitated through our recreational therapist.
  • Providers to manage all of your medical needs. 
  • Rehabilitation nurses and patient care techs deliver 24-hour compassionate care and will address any pain, skin and bowel/bladder difficulties you may be dealing with as a result of your stroke. Additionally, they will practice the skills you are learning during your therapy sessions with you as you progress through your rehabilitation stay.
  • Care managers and social workers coordinate your stay and discharge plan. 

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines is also the primary sponsor of the Des Moines Community Stroke Club. This club meets the third Tuesday of every month, February through October. There are no meetings November through January due to winter travel. Call Kathy Brakke at 515-241-4223 for more information.

Read more about rehabilitation therapies and our team members.


Treatment and Advanced Technology in Stroke Rehabilitation

Younker Rehabilitation incorporates advanced treatment and state-of-the-art technology to achieve optimal outcomes and help individuals who have experienced a stroke regain function on the affected side of their body. Within our team of physical and occupational therapists and speech language pathologists, Younker Rehabilitation has over 175 years of combined clinical therapy experience. Their expertise and understanding of patients' needs has helped transform Younker Rehabilitation into a facility rich with advanced and customized innovation, ensuring the greatest opportunity for patient rehabilitation. Some of the treatments and equipment available to appropriate stroke patients include:

  • Adaptive equipment such as a reacher, dressing stick, or sock aide to increase independence when dressing. 
  • Adaptive equipment to improve a patient's ability to eat independently. Commonly used equipment for eating includes: scoop bowl/plate, plate guard/lipped plate, mugs with handles, bent/angled utensils, weighted utensils, rocker knife, utensils with built-up handles, non-slip mats, long straws, universal cuff.
  • Our therapists work with patients to use their own smartphones, allowing them increased independence by use of various apps and functions not commonly known. One commonly used example is the use of voice dictation for those patients who are unable to use their hand to push the buttons on the phone. This may be the case for patients who have had a stroke affecting their dominant side.
  • Therapists also use the iPad© in therapy sessions and educate patients and their families on applications that can be utilized to address fine motor deficits, memory, attention, problem-solving and executive functioning.
  • Bioness® L300 Plus. The L300 Plus Foot Drop System is designed to help patients with certain neurological challenges such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain injury and spinal cord injury to walk more naturally, with increased speed, and improved balance. It delivers programmed, low level Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) targeting the peroneal nerve to enable foot dorsiflexion and accelerate motor recovery. In other words, it stimulates the nerve that helps feed the muscle that helps you bend your ankle up and lift your toes from the floor when you walk.
  • RT300 Arm and Leg FES Bike. With the RT300, we can stimulate one or both legs, or one or both arms with up to 16 muscle groups in the extremity and trunk receiving stimulation. The RT300 FES bike is accessible using a wheelchair or standard chair. It uses a program of passive, assisted, and active motion in a cycling motion to strengthen muscle groups working together. It also provides visual feedback on a monitor for the patient, to encourage more interaction.
  • AlterG Bionic Leg™. The AlterG Bionic Leg™ is a wearable robotic device that is used in therapy to help you improve your walking and balance. It assists your weakened or affected limb, which lets you complete more exercises during therapy. It improves your balance and confidence during therapy, making it easier to practice walking, sit-to-stand, and stair climbing.
  • SaeboMAS®. The mobile arm support (MAS) supports the arm to, in essence, remove the resistance of gravity for a patient who has a weak shoulder and arm. This can allow the person to work on functional activities and training that could not be accomplished otherwise. The MAS can also be used during tasks such as eating a meal to allow the person with a weak arm to begin to feed himself.
  • Deltoid Aide. The Deltoid Aide is another device much like the SaeboMAS that reduces the effect of gravity for a weak arm. This device uses an overhead pulley system to support an arm. The arm is supported with two slings, one at the elbow and the other at the hand, and each sling can be adjusted with its own counterweight. This allows the occupational therapist to position your arm in the best way for the particular exercise or activity you are performing. Most typically this tool is used for patients who have had a neurological injury, such as a stroke, brain injury, MS, or Guillain-Barre.
  • Dynavision D2™. The Dynavision is the leading medical and sport training device used by occupational therapists to improve awareness and scanning skills in all visual fields (in all directions), visual attention, and response speed. It can also be used as a treatment method for patients who need to work on standing activity tolerance, as it is motivating to patients. The Dynavision D2 incorporates gross motor skills, improves attention and speed of processing, expands awareness of the patient's surroundings, and incorporates balance into an upper body activity.
  • Video Fluoroscopic Assessment. A speech pathologist and radiologist will perform a video fluoroscopy (also called a modified barium swallow study) to assess safety with swallowing. This test is like a video X-ray in which the patient eats and drinks different textures of food and liquid coated with barium. The therapist and radiologist can then see if food is entering the windpipe or lungs, even if the patient is not aware or coughing. This can help to prevent aspiration, in which food or liquid enters the lungs.

Younker Rehab Facility's advanced technology and equipment.