Fort Walton Beach Medical Center celebrated the grand opening of the expansion of the Rehabilitation Institute of Northwest Florida in Destin on Sept. 5. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center recently held the grand opening of the expansion of their Rehabilitation Institute of Northwest Florida in Destin.

The ceremony was held Sept. 5 with representatives from Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Walton Area chambers, Lord and Sons Construction, the Board of Trustees of FWB Medical Center, Okaloosa County officials, area physicians, and others from the surroundings communities. Attendees were taken on a tour of the facility to showcase the services offered, as well as the accommodations provided to patients and visitors.

The Rehabilitation Institute of NW Florida's expansion includes 10 new private inpatient rooms, four equipped for bariatric patients; an expanded physical therapy gym; new landscaping; and an outdoor therapy garden that will foster the patient's ability to interact with nature while working on functional activities in a safe environment. The therapy garden and gazebo installation is expected to start this month and is expected to be completed by late November.

The Rehabilitation Institute is at 996 Airport Road and is the only inpatient acute rehab facility in the tri-county area. It is also the only CARF accredited stroke specialty center in the entire panhandle and provides a seven day per week therapy program with registered nurses and therapists to provide a quicker recovery for patients who have suffered from a stroke.

The Rehabilitation Institute ranks in the top 25th percentile out of all rehab programs nationwide and was recently honored with an award recognizing their commitment to quality outcomes and patient care.

To qualify for the award, rehab facilities must meet quality measures developed to improve outcomes for patient's undergoing rehabilitation for various debilitating injuries or illnesses. These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and improving everyday living for their patients. The award was presented to the program director, Rebecca Jones, the medical director, Dr. Anthony DeCotis, and the facility's team of rehabilitation specialists.