Regaining Living Skills in Independence Square

Big accomplishments arise from many small successes. Independence Square is a community of step-by-step successes and celebrations for persons who are working to regain living skills lost because of a brain or spinal cord injury, stroke, or other neurological or orthopedic illness. At Independence Square, success is celebrated by mastering one task at a time:

  • learning to climb a stair again
  • counting change correctly
  • ordering from a menu
  • maneuvering around a curb 
  • pounding a nail

Relearning each lost skill moves a person one step closer to the ultimate celebration of personal independence and a new beginning.


A Natural Extension of Expertise

Independence Square is the newest addition to the Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital's rehabilitation continuum and is the only facility like it in the area. Independence Square is located on the fifth floor of the west wing of the Hospital, next to the inpatient Rehabilitation Center. With Independence Square just down the hall, patients will be able to work at rebuilding their skills during their hospitalization, in addition to participating in scheduled outings into the community.

The care and treatment plan at Independence Square is supervised and carried out by a highly skilled team of inpatient professionals: physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapists; social workers; discharge planning nurses; and rehabilitation nurses and physicians. All are dedicated to helping patients pursue a plan of treatment that will enable them to live life as fully as possible, regardless of the nature of their individual challenges. Independence Square is a major step in helping individuals attain the goal of personal independence and re-enter the community as soon as possible with self-confidence and skill.  


Learning in a Safe, Controlled Environment

At Independence Square, patients learn to walk, talk, think, write, and pursue daily living activities in a controlled, real-world setting. This city block, located at Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital, Marshfield, contains a simulated street complete with working replicas of a:

  • grocery store
  • delicatessen
  • theater 
  • church
  • bank
  • car 
  • farm work area

It also presents many familiar obstacles:

  • curbs
  • concrete sidewalks
  • steps
  • in-store lighting and flooring
  • heavy doors
  • sloped floors 
  • tight spaces

Farm: In the farm area, patients will learn how to avoid injuries when loading heavy materials onto the back of a pickup truck. Other skills include working with plants, and garden and hand tools. Grocery Store: In the grocery store area, patients will learn how to reach for foods, maneuver a cart or hand basket and deal with bright lights and glare. They'll also learn how to plan a menu, select the right items, pay the correct amount, and count change. Bank: Thought process skills are the focus of the bank area, where patients will fill out deposit slips, make payments, count change, and balance a checkbook. Car: A real car--minus the motor--is located here. Patients will practice getting in and out of the car, loading the trunk and back seat, and filling the gas tank. Theater/Church: In the theater/church, patients will practice walking on a sloped surface in dim light and maneuvering around a narrow aisle and theater-style seats.

Here, individuals can learn how to maneuver with a newly acquired wheelchair, cane, walker, or prosthesis. They learn how to reach for items on grocery shelves and carry them without losing their balance. They practice getting in and out of a car, using bank teller machines, and maneuvering around theater or church seating. They can also learn how to load items into a car or onto a pickup truck bed and how to bend over properly to work in a garden.

Some also practice cognitive skills--such as filling out bank deposit slips, counting change, and checking a list.

Contact Us

Rehabilitations Admissions Coordinator
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


fax 715.387.7543



Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital
611 Saint Joseph Avenue
Marshfield, WI 54449


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