Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

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Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
Mery Freebed Rehabilitation Hospital Logo.jpg
Location Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Coordinates 42°57′21″N 85°39′46″W / 42.955965°N 85.662799°W / 42.955965; -85.662799Coordinates: 42°57′21″N 85°39′46″W / 42.955965°N 85.662799°W / 42.955965; -85.662799
Funding Non-profit hospital
Hospital type General, Teaching, Specialist
Helipad Yes
Founded 1891
Lists Hospitals in Michigan

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital was started and is led by the Mary Free Bed Guild of Grand Rapids, MI. This hospital is currently an 80-bed, non-profit organization that provides rehabilitation for people of all ages. Mary Free Bed serves Michigan and the Midwest by offering inpatient and outpatient programs, physical therapy clinics, and specialty medical treatment services.[1]

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital provides a range of rehab options from routine outpatient physical therapy services to comprehensive inpatient programs for individuals who have suffered from a devastating diagnosis or life-changing accident. Mary Free Bed offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for children and adults using an interdisciplinary approach. Also available are numerous specialty programs designed to increase the quality of life and independence of people with disabilities.[2][3]


One story says, Moses Taggart, a Grand Rapids attorney, found a purse while walking on the sidewalk in 1891. He took the purse with him, hoping to find an owner. Upon opening the purse he only found six pennies, no way to identify the owner. At the same time, Taggart's sister-in-law, Mrs. Van Cleve Ganson and Mary McQuewan placed a newspaper ad for free beds at the city's Union Benevolent Association Hospital. These free beds would help the city's sick poor. The group needed financial support in order to secure the use of another free bed. The six pennies were the first donation towards the "Mary Free Bed." The group requested money from the Grand Rapids community, asking for donations from people named Mary, as well as from people who knew someone with the name. Quickly, they raised enough money to use the free bed, which became known as the Mary Free Bed.

As the fund and need grew, the group of women became incorporated as the Mary Free Bed Guild of Grand Rapids. Later, the group became the hospital known today as Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.[4][5]

By 1918 the group separated from the hospital and began caring for crippled children. The guild opened a 12-bed convalescent home for children at 1411 East Fulton Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The home received designation in 1935 as the Orthopedic Center of Western Michigan by the state Crippled Children's Commission. In order to provide custom orthotics, brace (orthopaedic) and supports the guild opened their own brace shop.[6]

“For many years the women of Mary Free Bed Guild had cherished a dream— a dream of their own completely equipped hospital and to that end, a building fund was established years ago, rigidly earmarked for building purposes only. This money came to the home through gifts by interested individuals, bequests from the Sligh Estate, State funds and—the entire program was made possible through the generosity of people interested in the development of children.”

In 1946 the Guild continued to increase their treatment and rehabilitation programs for children by establishing the Juvenile Amputee Training Center, in-patient and out-patient clinic for cerebral palsy and the Juvenile Paraplegic Training Center. Later a rheumatic fever ward was added and by 1953, the name was changed to Mary Free Bed Guild Children's Hospital and Orthopedic Center. Eventually the hospital added music and speech therapy.

To serve an increasing number of patients not requiring 24-hour care, the hospital began offering outpatient services in 1960. Then the hospital began an adult rehabilitation program and they expanded care for spinal injury and stroke patients. Because of the addition of adult patients the hospital was renamed Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Complex in 1966. Also, to reflect this addition, 12 men joined the 12 existing women on the guild’s board of trustees.

Now, 120 guild and junior guild women continue the 100+ year tradition of serving disabled people by operating the 80-bed Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. They are one of the few hospitals in the country still owned by a women's guild. Today, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is a free-standing, non-profit organization devoted to comprehensive rehabilitation for adults and children. Mary Free Bed offers many inpatient and outpatient programs, physical therapy clinics, and specialty medical treatment services for adults and children throughout Michigan, the Midwest states, and beyond.[7][8][9][10]


Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital treats disabilities brought on by every imaginable cause. This includes helping individuals recovering from strokes, recuperating from joint replacement surgery, learning to overcome challenges such as limb differences, and fighting back from serious injuries.[11]

Inside Mary Free Bed
For adult and pediatric patients, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital provides comprehensive rehabilitation services. All programs include inpatient, outpatient, and clinic services. In addition to doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals specifically trained in rehabilitation treatment and care, patients benefit from a therapy gym, ample treatment space, and therapeutic technology. To make rehabilitation more effective, Mary Free Bed offers a variety of specialized therapy areas, including: Independence Square, Activities of Daily Living (ADL) apartment, a practice car, therapeutic pool, and an outdoor Therapath.
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is Joint Commission and CARF accredited in inpatient rehabilitation and has earned special CARF accreditation for brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, and pediatric programs.[12]

Inpatient Programs
Mary Free Bed's inpatient programs specialize in adult brain injury, spinal cord injury or disease, pediatric and adolescent programs, stroke, and orthopedics. They also see other diagnoses, including amputations, multiple fractures, neurological and neuromuscular disorders, multiple sclerosis, general deconditioning, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and West Nile virus, among others.[13]

Outpatient Programs and Specialty Services
Mary Free Bed's Outpatient Therapy Center offers comprehensive outpatient therapy, with direct physiatry involvement, and is available to pediatric and adult patients. Each patient meets with multi-discilpinary teams to create an individualized treatment plan.

Clinic Services
Clinic services are multidisciplinary and comprehensive, so in addition to the doctors and nursing staff, other specialty areas are available, if needed.[14]

Continuum of Care
A team of rehabilitation doctors, therapists, and other specialists is assigned to each patient to make sure their needs are met. This team stays with the patient throughout his or her treatment and follow-up care.
Patients can become part of Mary Free Bed's continuum of care no matter their point of entry. Point of entry may be when a patient comes to Mary Free Bed immediately following an injury or diagnosis or when he or she moves to the West Michigan area with an existing disability or illness and needs experienced rehabilitation care.

The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network
In June 2011, the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network was created. The network is an alliance of hospitals and providers formally integrated with an independent Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. The network is designed to create a seamlessly integrated system of rehabilitative care for patients. Members include Metro Health Hospital, Providence Zeeland, Porter Hills, Pilgrim Manor and Beacon Hill at Eastgate. In November 2011, Mary Free Bed entered into a strategic affiliation with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.[15] [16] [17] [18] [19]


  1. ^ US hospitals Web site
  2. ^ Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital's Web site
  3. ^ "Rehabilitation Hospital Winner of the Health Care Weekly Review Award of Excellence for 2007," Health Care Weekly Review Michigan Edition, March 31, 2008, Number 11, Vol. 24.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Olson, Gordon. "In the Name of All Marys..." Pub. Mary Free Bed Guild. 1991.
  8. ^ No contemporary account of the "purse with six pennies" story has been found. This account comes from an article titled, "Six Pennies 26 Years Ago Started Mary Free Bed Guild," by Pearl Lyzen in the Grand Rapids Herald, April 22, 1917. A copy of the clipping is in Concert Series Scrapbook No. 4, Box 21, Mary Free Bed Guild and Hospital Records, Collection No. 81. (MFB Records)
  9. ^ "In the Name of All the Marys," Grand Rapids Herald, September 15, 1912, MFB Records, Concert Scrapbook No. 1, Box 20.
  10. ^ "Six Pennies," Grand Rapids Herald, MFB Records, Series II, Vol. 4.
  11. ^
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  14. ^
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  16. ^
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  18. ^
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