The Tellabs Center for Neurorehabilitation and Neuroplasticity

Wheaton, Illinois


The design for transforming 5,000 square feet of outdated patient exam space into a “state-of-the-art” Neurorehabilitation and Neuroplasticity Center is the culmination of the vision of Kathleen Yosko, Marianjoy President, and the philanthropic support of the Tellabs Foundation.

The program for the Center focuses on delivering evidence-based treatment that maximizes recovery and promotes independence for patients recovering from a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, and other neurologic disorders and impairments.

The existing space was “gutted” to its minimal structural and mechanical elements to provide maximum flexibility within the new design. Existing punched windows on one side of the building wing were removed to allow for continuous exterior glazing that offers quality northern light into the space and provides views of the healing garden and rehabilitation patio immediately outside the suite. In addition, a new exterior door was added to allow staff and visitors to do rehabilitation exercises in the outdoor environment when weather permits.

The structural beams and floor slab above were left exposed to allow for the attachment of a “ZeroG V2” gait and balance training rail system. The patient is partially or fully supported by a vest attached to the rail overhead. This gives staff more freedom to diagnose and assist the patient rather than focusing on physically supporting them.

The design of the Center incorporates natural tones in the use of wall graphics that emulate the natural, tree-filled environment surrounding the Marianjoy Campus. Yet the lighting composition, the shape of the column enclosures, the use of curved elements, bright-white ceiling structure, and transparent walls at the meeting room, support area, and entrance to the suite invokes high energy and excitement for the treatment that is provided.

Traditional staff work stations were excluded in favor of mobile, un-tethered work stations that can be placed next to the work activity to enforce that staff’s “hands-on” approach to rehabilitation.

Most importantly, the design generates flexibility. The field of neurorehabilitation is a rapidly advancing specialty of neuroscience focused on interventions to assist nervous system recovery. The Tellabs Center is designed to facilitate new equipment, advancements in research, and improved methods of rehabilitation therapy in the years ahead.