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UNC Hospitals and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation are making plans to move the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation (AIR) Center from Chapel Hill to nearby Hillsborough, NC. The new AIR Center will be located on the 3rd and 4th floors of the bed tower currently under construction at UNC Hospitals – Hillsborough Campus and is expected to open in February 2022.

On August 27th, 2020 UNC Hospitals received approval for an additional 10 inpatient rehabilitation beds at UNC Hospitals – Hillsborough Campus, which will increase the size of our AIR program to 40 beds. This increase in capacity should also allow our PM&R residency program to grow from its current 12 to 16 residents over the next four years. Many thanks to the full hospital executive leadership team, the strategic planning team, and the legal team for their timely work and full support of this expansion. We would also like to thank the inpatient rehabilitation staff of nurses, therapists, case managers, and all the other disciplines for supporting a high-quality program that is worth expanding to increase access to care for the people of North Carolina.

The new rehab unit will feature spacious, all-private patient rooms. Other features include: a large interdisciplinary gym with open and natural lighting, incredible views of Hillsborough’s surrounding natural environment, a transitional living apartment, a family dining area and lounge, and recreational therapy spaces. Other planned innovations include Virtual/Augmented Reality therapy, a Rehab Maker Space with 3-D printers, and the Hillsborough Hospitals’ Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Joshua Alexander, Chair for the Department of PM&R, believes that these innovative programs, managed by our physicians, therapists and nursing staff, and located on a beautiful campus, will make our expanded program the premier inpatient rehabilitation center in North Carolina. Dr. Paul Than, Medical Director of Inpatient Rehabilitation, is confident that this new center will be an ideal place for patients to improve their functional abilities so that they may return home and thrive in their community.

Faculty, residents, and staff are already excited about the future growth of our inpatient rehab and residency programs. As we continue to grow, we will continue to increase access to care and to better serve our patients across our state.

January 2022

November 2021

September 2021

May 2021

February 2021

January 2021
Hillsborough Tower building in progress

December 4, 2020

November 6, 2020

July 2020

July 2020 Hillsborough hospital construction

April 2020
Laying the groundwork – construction has begun on the new Hillsborough Hospital bed tower (rehabilitation unit will be located on the 3rd and 4th floor)



3D rendered models of the future 2022 Hillsborough Hospital Bed tower