Life Care Centers of America
Heidi Pino

Gertie Smith has come a long way since June.

She was found with a severe head injury and required a specialized shunt to reduce the pressure in her brain. She developed multiple infections and even a wound on her head requiring several hospitalizations.

When Gertie first arrived at Life Care Center of Wichita, Kansas, on June 19, 2020, she was incoherent and could not make her wants and needs known. She required all nutrition through a tube in her stomach due to weakness with her swallowing and required maximum assistance for all mobility and care.

Gertie worked very hard with all three disciplines and advanced with her strength, balance and coordination. She participated in challenging exercises in her room and throughout the facility as precautions allowed. In physical therapy, she progressed from requiring total assistance to walking throughout the facility on her own.

The interdisciplinary team worked with her family on education of her care over the phone to establish a safe and sustainable discharge plan.

Speech therapy was especially important for Gertie in regaining her swallow function. As her diet advanced, food did not taste very good, and she required specialized conditioning in order to get used to eating regularly. The dietary staff worked hard to provide food that tasted good and was appetizing to her but not overwhelming.

“Therapy has helped me tremendously,” said Gertie. “I don’t remember what happened to me, but I’m so thankful that I came here. My confidence is so much better. The staff really helped me get comfortable talking again. Eating just seemed like a hassle, but with speech therapy it got better each day.”

On Aug. 19, Gertie returned home to her family home health therapy. She is now independent in her mobility and most of her self-care. She is thinking clearly again and able to express herself and eat a normal diet.

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