BHealthy Blog

David’s Village Allows Patients to Relearn Real Life

Anyone who has had a stroke, spinal cord injury, neurological disorder, head injury, a serious broken bone or a limb amputation finds that most common, ordinary, daily tasks need to be modified and relearned.

David’s Village, located within Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute, provides a setting for life-like, everyday world experiences within a safe rehabilitation setting.  It includes an actual restaurant booth, grocery store shelves and check out counter, car, gas pump, and the front porch of a house complete with a door and storm door.  Varied flooring provides the patient with a chance to face real life situations whether the individual is ambulatory or using a wheelchair.

Patients undergoing therapy in a clinical setting may find it hard to access the community environment to practice real life challenges. David’s Village brings the community to the patient. Patients are able to learn new skills in a safe, controlled environment prior to encountering real life situations.

Grocery Store

Patients have the opportunity to use the three basic shelf systems found in most stores: upright shelves, the freezer units and produce area.  Patients can practice handling produce bags, a shopping cart, a hand-held shopping basket, packaged and canned foods, and fruits and vegetables.  An actual check out counter with a working cash register, and a check writing platform is included so that the patient can “pay” for their purchases.

car at gas pump

Patients can practice opening the fuel cap, selecting the fuel grade on the pump, lifting the nozzle, inserting and squeezing the nozzle.


The 4-door sedan sits on a hydraulic lift that can be adjusted to the height of the vehicle the patient will be using in the community.  If the patient will be using an SUV, then the car is positioned at a higher level for transfer practice than it would be positioned for a patient who will be using other types of vehicles.  Individuals can learn to safely enter and exit any seat of the car using assistive devices including a wheelchair or a walker.  The car offers opportunities for practice loading groceries into the trunk or attaching an infant car seat and strapping an infant into the seat.  If washing the windshield or even the car itself is a regular activity for the patient, then these activities can be incorporated into therapy sessions as well.

Fast Food Restaurant

An actual restaurant booth and menu are available for patients to practice reading the menu, placing an order, paying for the meal, and carrying their food to designated areas.  Getting into and out of the booth seat is a challenge many individuals face in the community.  David’s Village provides the opportunity to resolve problems with rising and lowering from a booth seat.

Front Porch

The front porch includes an actual front door for a house, a storm door and a threshold.  Patients have opportunities to learn how to safely enter and exit a home.  The varied knobs and locks allow practice sessions for using keys, levers and doorknobs.  Opening a storm or screen door and maintaining its position in order to open another door can be a problem for many patients as well as managing the raised threshold with a walker or wheelchair.  Learning modified techniques allow safe performance at home.


David’s Village includes a ramp, curbs and a textured surface for mobility practice.  Whether the patient will be ambulating independently, using assistive devices or using a wheelchair, there is a need to learn to manage all of these types of surfaces in the community.  Safe practice situations enhance safety and independence in community mobility.

David’s Village helps patients improve their strength, coordination, balance, endurance, problem solving skills, attention to task, visual scanning, and confidence in returning safely to the community. Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute mission is to assist patients in returning successfully to home and community.  Since it is difficult to get every patient out into the community for practice, David’s Village allows us to bring the community to the patient.