Inpatient Medical Rehab Unit (MRU)

You have a Choice…

Your Rehab process and the return home should be a smooth one…

How to get a referral to ECMC’s Medical Rehab Unit

  • Tell your doctor about your interest in ECMC’s rehabilitation program.
  • A Rehabilitation Admissions Director and Physiatrist will be called to evaluate your rehabilitation needs. They will make a recommendation about which level of Rehab is best for your recovery.  They will discuss the admission requirements and insurance participation.
  • Once accepted, you may be transferred to our Medical Rehab Unit and begin your recovery so that you can return to home in the best physical condition possible.

Referral Information for Your Doctor / Discharge Planning Team:



PHONE (716) 898-6594

FAX (716) 898-4625

Common Questions

ECMC Medical Rehab Unit:  Challenge Accepted, Since 1978

The Medical Rehabilitation Unit (MRU) at ECMC has a long history of dedication to the community in returning sick and injured people back to their families, homes, and careers.   Our MRU accepts the most challenging patients in the nation (Highest Case Mix Index*) and provides the care and rehabilitation needed for the most optimal outcomes possible.  Our therapists have expertise in treating serious injuries, such as spinal cord injury, brain injury, or multiple trauma injuries.  While a subacute rehab unit is still appropriate for less involved cases, our Acute Medical Rehabilitation Unit gives each patient more time with the therapists, more time with the physiatrist (rehab doctor), and a higher percentage of discharge to home.

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)

ECMC has been awarded a CARF three-year accreditation for its Inpatient Physical Rehabilitation Program.  ECMC was given this high honor for Excellence in Rehabilitation.  ECMC is one of the Nation’s and Region’s top performers for improved independence after sustaining a Spinal Cord Injury, Burn Injury, and Brain Injury.

Accreditation is the result of a rigorous peer review process where ECMC demonstrated to a team of surveyors, during an on-site visit, that its Rehabilitation services are of the highest quality.

CARF is an independent, internationally recognized accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process.

Acute Medical Rehab vs. a Less Intense Level of Rehab                  

Acute Medical Rehabilitation is appropriate for patients who will benefit from an intensive, interdisciplinary rehabilitation program. Patients receive occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy as needed for 3 hours daily. Patients are medically managed daily by specially trained physicians and nurse practitioners. In contrast, subacute rehabilitation is less intensive than acute rehabilitation. Subacute rehabilitation units are housed in skilled nursing facilities where patients receive one or two hours of therapy daily. Subacute patients are seen by their attending physicians on a monthly basis.

Continuity of Care

All your needs can be met under one roof at ECMC, from your acute stay, to your rehabilitationstay, and onto your time in outpatient rehabilitation.  All required rehabilitation needs can be met at one location.

When you choose to stay at ECMC for your Acute Medical Rehab needs, you are ensuring continuity of care as your physician will remain directly connected to you and your rehab team that is caring for you during your stay.

Our team of professionals at ECMC will set up any home care services or equipment you need for when it is time to return home.

Meet Our Team

The Physiatrists/Nurse Practitioners

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Doctors, also known as Physiatrists, are medical doctors with specialty training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  Physiatrists work to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life for individuals with impairments affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, muscles, and tendons.   These physicians focus on maximizing the independence level for patients in activities of daily living and help to enhance overall quality of life.  Physiatrists create comprehensive, patient-centered treatment plans and are the lead members of the care team.  Nurse Practitioners work alongside the physicians assisting the team to carry out the patients’ plan of care.

Rehabilitation Nursing

Patient care in the MRU is provided by Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).   The nursing team works closely with the doctor and therapists to maintain and restore health and function.  Nursing activities include: dispensing medication, administration of bowel/bladder program, facilitating self-motivation, assisting with pain control, reinforcing skills learned in therapy sessions, wound care, and helping with self-care activities. The nursing team will teach you and your family and explain specific medical changes, in addition to what care will be needed for discharge.  A variety of styles are available to accommodate each patient’s learning preference.  The nursing team will focus on providing instruction and encouragement every step of the way to better enable you to fulfill your rehab potential.

Physical Therapy (PT)

ECMC’s Physical Therapy program employs a talented staff of physical therapists that are uniquely qualified to evaluate, consult, educate, and provide therapies for individuals with a wide range of physical limitations.

The primary goals of physical therapy are to improve:

  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Mobility
  • Function
  • Pain relief

As part of the MRU program, our goal in physical therapy is to return you to the highest level of physical function possible for independent community living through a comprehensive and goal – directed program.  The neuro PT team will assess and treat any difficulties you may have, including mobility, strength, tone, endurance, balance, and coordination.  You will also receive education regarding your acquired physical disability and the necessary interventions and assistive devices required to maximize your functional independence.  You will be provided a progressive home exercise program to maintain and continue your progress at home.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

At ECMC, our occupational therapists use goal-directed activities to evaluate and treat the daily living skills needed for you to fully function in your home, work, and community.

Some of the daily skills practiced in occupational therapy can include:

  • Self-care
  • Home Management
  • Work Management
  • Functional mobility
  • Leisure pursuits

The primary goals are to improve a patient’s participation in daily life activities.  To achieve this, OTs work to facilitate changes while considering:

  • Body functions
  • Body structures
  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Motor skills
  • Processing
  • Social interaction

Our occupational therapists can also provide skilled recommendations on equipment needs and home modifications, and help you to develop strategies to compensate for permanent loss of function.

The occupational therapist will assist you to improve your physical, visual-perceptual, and cognitive impairments that may be interfering with your ability to complete your daily living tasks.  If necessary, you may be taught new techniques to manage your self-care activities, such as dressing, bathing, grooming, and eating.

Speech Language Pathology (SLP)

In ECMC’s Speech Pathology unit, we provide full evaluation and treatment for patients experiencing communication difficulties related to:

  • Language
  • Thought
  • Voice
  • Speech

For patients who have suffered a brain injury or stroke, the first goal of speech therapy is to find a way to communicate basic needs.  A speech pathologist assists in overcoming problems with speaking, understanding or expressing ideas, and will assist you in improving memory, concentration, and problem solving.

Our speech pathology team also provides services in the diagnosis and treatment of swallowing difficulties.  The swallowing rehab therapist will recommend which food textures are safest to swallow during your ongoing recovery, and offer techniques for effortless, safe swallowing, and oral nutrition.

Additionally, those with hearing loss may receive services to improve communication with their families and significant others.

FEES (Fiber optic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing):

Evaluates the developmental aspects of swallowing to determine safety and decrease the risk of aspiration. The benefit of FEES include: immediate results including dietary recommendations, portability, and a non-radioactive alternative to modified barium swallow studies.

Recreational Therapy (RT)

ECMC is one of the few MRUs that includes recreational therapy as part of the treatment team. The Recreational Therapist uses a wide range of activity and community based treatments and methods to improve your physical, mental, emotional, social, and leisure needs.  Recreational therapists assist you in developing the skills, knowledge, and behaviors for daily living and community involvement.  The therapist works with you and your family to include your interests and community resources in therapy to achieve optimal outcomes upon returning to home.

RT involves patients in community re-entry skills development groups.  These groups are used in a team approach to help patients, who have suffered traumatic injuries or other debilitating conditions, develop the skills they need to return to the community.  This activity-based approach provides opportunities to improve problem solving, decision-making, fine/gross motor coordination, functional mobility, social skills, and self-esteem.


Rehabilitation Counseling

Our rehabilitation program has a strong emphasis on not only recovering and managing an illness/injury but living a meaningful life with good quality and the highest level of emotional health. We recognize that your health and wellbeing impact all areas of your life. Therefore, mood and coping skills sometimes need to be addressed. We offer a range of support services across the continuum of care. Patients admitted to ECMC’s MRU and their family members have the option of receiving supportive counseling to help with symptom management, adjustment to diagnosis, life changes, and management of stressors associated with the hospitalization experience.

Social Work/Discharge Planning

Our social worker/discharge planning team will schedule a family meeting within the first few days of admission.  They will review your progress and therapeutic goals and make recommendations for any adaptations or plans that need to be made for the transition home.  They will also provide assistance with insurance, follow up appointments, equipment recommendations, and emotional support.

Head Trauma and Stroke Recovery Rehabilitation

Our stroke and head trauma rehabilitation programs consist of an interdisciplinary team approach to assist survivors in recovering to their fullest potential. Patients dependent on the level of recovery will begin to learn how to take care of themselves again.  The goals will be for them to learn to be able to wash themselves, dress themselves, feed themselves, and improve their ability to swallow food.  They will work on being able to get themselves out of bed and progress towards appropriate mobility skills based on their level of recovery. Family members will have opportunities to participate in care in preparation for going home.

ECMC MRU Performance/Demographics

Performance Outcomes

ECMC treats patients with injuries and illnesses that are the most challenging in the nation.  Despite that, ECMC’s Acute Medical Rehabilitation Unit as outperformed 916 national and 59 regional facilities with above average independence achieved by discharge using a standardized measures known as QI, Quality Indicators.  Refer to the chart for specific diagnostic details. (Source: UDSMR 2022).  Some of our best outcomes were achieved with people who had suffered Major Multiple Trauma with and without a Traumatic Brain Injury or Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, Burns Injury and Multiple Lower Extremity Fractures.

What does this mean?  It means that when patients were discharged from our Medical Rehab Unit, they were able to do more of their own care with better mobility and less assistance compared with our competitors.


Based on data from 2022, ECMC MRU patient demographics reflect that the average age for patients was 49.5 years/old.  75.1 % were male and 68.4% were discharged home with the assistance of family members and home health services.  Ethnicity break out was 48.6% white,  14.7% African American,  3.4 % Hispanic, 2.8 % Asian, and 0% Native American.  The top five primary payers included No Fault 25.4%, Managed Medicaid 22.6%, and Medicare Fee for Service 12.4%, Managed Medicare 12.4%, and Blue Cross 11%.

Patient Outcome Data

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