Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City
Physical Therapist Michele Ahern works with patient
There are a few institutions along Main Street that serve as anchors for the community. One of those is the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City (RIKC) which has been located at the corner of 31st and Main since 1968. RIKC started after World War II in 1947 to help with the overwhelming need for rehabilitative support for the returning servicemen. RIKC had an innovative approach to providing care, however, by supporting individuals in not only their physical recovery, but also their reintroduction back into society by providing vocational services. In 1951, they were able to expand their work to include social and psychological services as well as speech and hearing therapy, allowing them to help a larger portion of the individuals with disabilities.
They opened the doors to their current facility in February of 1969. The building was a brand new, state of the art, barrier-free rehabilitation facility that allowed the RIKC to become the first licensed rehabilitation hospital in Missouri and first in the region to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. It also allowed them to begin caring for children affected by polio because they were able to expand to include pediatric services.
RIKC Cerebral Palsy patient Daniel success story
Over the years, RIKC has been an invaluable organization to our community. Every day they work to empower adults and children with disabilities to reach their highest potential at home, work, school, and in their day-to-day lives. They currently provide medical rehabilitation, employment placement services, and specialty services. There is much effort that goes into helping their patients, but the staff wouldn’t trade those joyous moments of “firsts” for anything. Sarah Murphy, Communications and Volunteer Liaison, expressed, “Our therapists and staff experience many “moments of firsts” with patients, clients, and students from re-learning how to walk after a stroke, landing their first job, or entering school.”
Rehab Institute Before (Current) Photo
RIKC has also noticed changes along Main Street recently, like the added accessibility for individuals with mobility impairments through wider and cleaner sidewalks and curb cuts. They also enjoy the new look of Main Street with the beautification measures and says it allows them “a sense of pride in our home, which we feel adds to the neighborhood aspect of the corridor.” As design begins on the streetscape from 30th
Street, they look forward to being a part of the updates and hope to begin updates of their own.
Rehab Institute After (rendering) Photo
In 2010, they started their Capital Campaign to renovate their building to address issues of overcrowded treatment areas, an aging facility, and inadequate parking. Their goal is to increase service capacity, improve operating efficiency, and enhance visibility and accessibility. They plan to renovate and reconfigure the 68,000 square foot building to allow for program growth and increased efficiency. This includes relocating the primary entrance of the facility to Main Street, rather than Baltimore Avenue, expanding and enhancing parking along Main Street to increase accessibility, and improving the Main Street façade to create a more appealing entrance and welcome for all those who visit RIKC. Their funding goal is within reach and they anticipate renovations to begin in 2017. If you would like to help them reach their goal, please click here
to donate. You can also attend their Ability Quest Walk & Run this weekend. Details are listed below.