Toronto (Sept. 27, 2000) - Toronto Rehab unveiled its innovative state-of-the-art adaptable kitchen today at Lyndhurst Centre. It’s a new high-tech fully accessible kitchen specially designed for people with spinal cord injuries. It enables clients to maximize their functional independence and provides the means to make a smooth transition from rehabilitation to their community.

"This new kitchen is not only wheelchair accessible but it also offers a one-stop-shop to a variety of accessible features that make functioning in a kitchen easier for people with spinal cord injuries," said Malini Hall, an occupational therapist (OT) and one of the project coordinators. "As occupational therapists, our job is to increase clients' independence in activities of daily living such as meal preparation and kitchen skills."

Ms. Hall and Cynthia Prins, another OT, consulted with patients and staff, toured other institutions, and visited clients’ homes to see wheelchair accessible kitchens in action. The message they received from patients was that the new kitchen should be completely accessible without looking the part.

The new high-tech kitchen, designed in conjunction with Adapt-Able Design, features different kinds of accessibility features for clients to determine what might work best in their own home. Ms. Hall says the sink is electronically height adjustable plus there are plenty of lazy susans and pull-out cabinets, variable height counters, and a wheelchair accessible stove and fridge. There are also three different types of door handles to suit clients with varying degrees of hand function.

It was a project that OTs spent two years working on with the generous assistance of Doug Cussons, a long-time supporter of Lyndhurst Centre. Doug who initiated the funding, with help from his family and friends, committed to raising nearly $50,000 after seeing the shape of the old kitchen at Lyndhurst.

"This project would never have happened without the community’s support, and the energy and drive of the OTs. They cared about the project and made it happen," said Ms. Hall.

Sponsors of the project include Adapt-able Design, Broan/Nutone, Frigidaire, Panigas Group and Sears Canada.

Lyndhurst Centre is one of five Toronto Rehab sites and home to Canada's largest spinal cord rehabilitation program. The 68-bed, purpose-built facility provides comprehensive, individualized, goal-oriented rehabilitation services to adults who have either sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury, or have a neurological disease resulting in life-long disability.

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