When patients need specialized physical, occupational and speech therapy, the pediatric rehabilitation care team at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach uses rehabilitation gyms to help patients recover mobility and build confidence. Currently, those gyms are spread across Long Beach with one gym located at the Miller Children’s & Women’s main campus and three gyms located offsite, four miles away and on different floors in a Miller Children’s & Women’s Outpatient Satellite Office. The Cherese Mari Laulhere Children’s Village opening in 2021 will change that.

Three gyms, an infant, developmental and adolescent gym, will take up a complete wing on the ground floor of the 80,000 square-foot, four-story Children’s Village. The gyms will connect to each other and allow the care team to share resources, improve group treatments and offer access to new types of space and equipment.

Christy Bowers, MCD, CCC-SLP, and Christine Marten, M.A., CCC-SLP, supervisors of the Rehabilitation Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s, have worked with a team of architects to design these three distinct gyms to meet the unique needs of their patients.

“It is going to be amazing for our patients to have one place to go for all their needs,” says Christy Bowers. “Having bright, cheery and open treatment spaces that focus on different age groups and are developmentally appropriate will improve our patients’ overall experience.”

The infant gym will focus on helping children from birth to 2-years-old learn how to move with large floor mats, push toys, mirrors, baby friendly swings and ballet bars that are low to the ground.

Children 2 to 8-years-old will climb, jump, swing and run around freely without worrying about crashing into each other in the developmental gym. The developmental gym will include floor mats, a small play structure with a slide, trampoline, pillow pit, a wall for climbing and a runway for kids to pull themselves on scooter boards.

In the adolescent gym, patients 9-years-old and older will have many equipment options, including treadmills, ellipticals and weight machines to choose from. The gym will have an athletic, industrial feel with exposed ceilings and up-beat music that plays while patients exercise.

All the gyms will have floor length windows that face out to the unified outdoor therapy area, which will have a giant play structure, a track for walking, running and biking, basketball hoop, rock wall, and much more. From comfortable seating underneath the area’s shade canopies, parents can watch their child’s progress.

After more than a decade with rehabilitation gyms spread across Long Beach, the Children’s Village will be a central home for thousands of patients and their families who need rehabilitation care each year.

“We had a vision of the space and gyms we needed. Instead of making ourselves fit into a space that already existed, we got to create exactly what we needed,” says Christine Marten. “Our care team is thrilled to have a collaborative space that is easier to visit and enhances treatment for our patients.”