Long-vacant Shawnee building to house new center for treating brain and spinal cord injuries

Neuro RehabCare will soon open its first inpatient residential care facility in Kansas on 55th Street in Shawnee. Team members include (above from left): Brian Arbalaez, Leigh Smith, Kira Ptacek and Maurice Arbalaez. Photo credit Leah Wankum.

After sitting vacant for six years on the market, a large white structure on West 55th Street in Shawnee will soon become the first inpatient neuro rehabilitation facility in Kansas.

Located at 13021 W. 55th St., Neuro RehabCare will serve as a residential inpatient care facility for up to 11 people with brain or spinal cord injury or other catastrophic injury.

Based in Overland Park, the company is in the middle of converting the unfinished building, with completion coming as soon as September.

Father-son duo Maurice and Brian Arbalaez of Overland Park, who own Neuro RehabCare, said they’re looking forward to opening their fifth facility nationwide and filling a gap in health care services.

The building on 55th Street sat vacant for years and was nearly complete when Neuro RehabCare purchased it.

“A lot of times, when patients have the kind of injuries we care for, they’re forced to go out of state, which is even more difficult on the families,” said Brian Arbalaez. “There’s a lot of need for it here. And we’re proud to offer such a nice place for our patients to live.”

The 20,000-square-foot facility on 55th Street was nearly complete before Neuro RehabCare purchased it. Both father and son agreed that the place was perfect for what they want to offer their patients.

“We’re happy to be in Shawnee and really putting this building to its best possible use,” said Maurice Arbalaez.

Each patient suite will have its own accessible bathroom facilities and bedroom accessories to accommodate their stays. Sitting high up on a hill, the center’s backyard looks out onto an expansive wooded area, enclosed by neighboring single-family homes and Ray Marsh Elementary School nearby.

Neuro RehabCare’s services

A key part of Neuro RehabCare’s program is community-based therapy and care.

Brian Arbalaez said this helps prepare patients for reintegrating their lives into their communities when they are ready.

Patients will receive care and physical therapy to help them achieve their health goals after experiencing traumatic injury.

“The idea is to get these people back into the community, so that’s what we do: back home, back to work, back involved,” said Brian Arbalaez. “That’s why we are in a residential area, not an institution. We can take them to community outings and activities, restaurants and games and fishing, whatever their interests are. Each patient requires different therapy, has different interests, and each patient’s care is tailored to them.”

Brian Arbalaez and Leigh Smith, the center’s program director, said patient outcomes are some of the most rewarding parts of working with Neuro RehabCare.

“I think the other thing that we feel good about bringing to Kansas is that most people, unless you work in the field, you’re not familiar with the world of brain injury or spinal cord injury until something traumatic happens and you’re thrust into it,” Smith said. “So for us to be able to provide this hub for rehabilitation, for education, for being able to be supports to people and give them the best care possible, while they’re navigating their new life post-injury, is extremely rewarding.”

Check out Neuro RehabCare’s Instagram to see patients’ milestones in their care.