The World's First and Only AbilityLab - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC has more researchers on staff than any other rehabilitation provider.

“By the time studies appear in the literature, the information is no longer current.

Here, through our day-to-day interactions with researchers, we have the opportunity to start implementing findings immediately after they are proven beneficial.”
– Nicole Williams, Physical Therapist

The World's First and Only AbilityLab™

RIC's new Ability Lab

Helping Patients Re-imagine and Regain Functional Independence in Ways They Never Thought Possible

The AbilityLab™ is an inspiring state-of-the-art therapy environment with the most advanced technology and tools. Our scientists and physicians collaborate in real-time next to the patient, assessing their needs and developing customized recovery solutions to get people better, faster.

A Novel Treatment Space for Patient Recovery and New Possibilities

Opened January 2012, RIC introduced the world’s first AbilityLab™. The world looks to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) to Advance Human Ability™, where discoveries are creating new possibilities and revolutionizing patient outcomes.

  • An amalgamation of clinicians and scientists around the inpatients
  • Space design that inspires and influences behavior and recovery
  • Smart technology everywhere
  • Energy conveyed through color, textiles, and aesthetic design
  • Revolutionary equipment including robots and anti-gravity systems

Revolutionizing Patient Outcomes

Now RIC introduces an innovative approach in health care: fusing together live medical research and clinical care, surrounding the patient within the hospital setting. In RIC’s novel AbilityLab™, an inspiring, state-of-the-art environment with the most advanced technology and tools, RIC clinicians and researchers will collaborate live, assessing patient needs and developing solutions to solve patient problems better and faster. This radical new design of rehabilitation will enable RIC to create new possibilities for patient recovery.

Harnessing the Latest Technology

Serving More Patients and Advancing Patient AbilityFrom robots to anti-gravity systems, RIC is harnessing the latest technology to improve patient outcomes. Novel rehabilitation technology includes an anti-gravity track (also called an ambulation system) built into the ceiling. Supported by a harness suspended from the track, patients can walk around the 9th floor bearing as much of their own body weight  – movement proven to benefit every system of the body and enhance recovery.

Measuring Outcomes

Patients working on ambulation may wear pedometers, enabling RIC staff to collect data and measure how much patients improve over the length of their stay. Pedometers will also help patients set – and achieve – concrete goals toward improvement in walking.

New Paradigm of Care

RIC rehabilitation patients walk more!

RIC’s AbilityLab™ will be the nexus of a newly redesigned patient Recovery Unit on the 9th floor of RIC’s flagship hospital in downtown Chicago. Launched January 2012, the new RIC Recovery Unit expands the Institute’s inpatient capacity significantly for a total of 182 beds, enabling RIC to serve even more patients with this new paradigm of care.

RIC is the top destination for patients around the globe who seek the best rehabilitation care; with research fueling better treatments for a wide variety of patient conditions, the demand for RIC’s services is continuing to grow.

A Novel Test-Bed

RIC’s AbilityLab™ and new patient Recovery Unit also will serve as a test-bed for ideas and best practices as RIC designs its new Research Hospital of the future, one that will infuse 21st Century biomedical science into the clinical environment in ways unlike any other. RIC is setting the new direction in rehabilitation recovery and leading a new generation for the delivery of health care outcomes.

Current Research Projects Underway
  • Constraint Induced Language Therapy for Inpatients With Aphasia
    Brown Fellowship
    Julie Carpenter, MA, CCC-SLP
    Leora Cherney, PhD, BC-ANCDS, CCC-SLP
  • Enriched Environment to Improve Outcomes in Patients with Stroke
    HBB Project
    T. George Hornby, PT, PhD and Locomotor Recovery Laboratory
    Jennifer Smith, MA, CCC-SLP and 9th floor Physical Therapy team
    Nicole Sedam, MS, OTR/L and 8th floor Physical Therapy team
  • Evaluating FT-WREX to Improve Functional Outcomes During UE Therapy
    Richard Harvey, MD
    Meghan Buell, OTR/L
  • The Feasibility of High Repetition, Task Oriented Training in the Inpatient Rehabilitation Setting
    Buchanan Fellowship
    Kim Waddell, MS, OTR/L
    George Hornby, PT, PhD
  • In-Bed Robotic Rehabilitation in Acute Stroke
    Li-Qun Zhang, PhD
  • The Role of Uncertainty in Human Motor Learning and Adaptation (Parkinson’s)
    Konrad Kording, PhD
  • Intensive Gait Training to Improve Community Ambulation After Stroke
    Locomotion Lab
    T. George Hornby, PhD, PT
  • Mechanisms Underlying Locomotor Recovery After Step Training in Spinal Cord Injury
    Maria Knikou, PhD, PT
    CK Mummidisetty, MS
  • Pharmacological-Robotic Interventions to Promote Functional Recovery in SCI
    Mehdi Mirbagheri, PhD