A heart attack is plenty to recover from on its own, but suffering cardiac arrest while driving created complications for one Florida engineer.
Paul Deluca was in such a situation on Oct. 6 and drove his car into a brick wall. The medical team found him to be in ventricular fibrillation and with a brain injury likely caused by the accident.
For rehabilitation, Paul came to Life Care Center of Orlando, Florida, since he was not ready to go straight from the hospital to his home. When he arrived, he was very weak and had difficulty keeping his balance during standing and walking. He had difficulty paying attention and solving problems, as well as with memory.
All three therapy disciplines got involved in Paul’s care – physical, occupational and speech.
Physical and occupational therapists worked with Paul on his mobility and self-care tasks, called activities of daily living. They used exercises and neuromuscular re-education to help him with balance and gait, as well as the physical control and strength he needed for basic things like bathing, getting dressed and grooming. The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ at the facility also gave him an enclosed, reduced-gravity environment to work on his walking skills without the risk of falling.
Magdalis Velasquez, speech therapist, was greatly involved with restoring Paul’s cognitive functions.
“When he first came to our facility, he had difficulty recognizing his immediate family,” Velasquez said. “His problem-solving skills and safety awareness were significantly affected. We worked daily to improve his attention skills, memory and problem solving. During his treatment, he successfully learned strategies to compensate for his cognitive difficulties. He was so happy when he was finally able to return home to his wife.”
Paul met this goal on Nov. 1, returning home able to walk without an assistive device and at a low risk of falls. His cognition and communication skills had improved significantly, and he is continuing rehabilitation at home. His therapists shared that he has the potential, through continuous rehab, to return to work.
“The staff were amazing,” Paul shared. “All of the therapists were nice and patient with me. They were all rooting for me to get better, and I looked forward to my therapy sessions every day.”