Life Care Centers of America
By Maria Pattugalan, Director of Rehab

Robert Collins is a 73-year-old successful and independent businessman who has made a living in reprography (reproduction of documents). He has printed blueprints for several architects, engineers and several construction companies in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. But while his business was booming, his health was not.

On Sept. 9, Robert started having severe shortness of breath and was sent to the hospital, where he was found to be in hypoxic respiratory failure, as well congestive heart failure. He had to be intubated for 14 days while in the ICU recuperating from cardiac catheterization. As a complication of the intubation, he had difficulty swallowing and was showing signs of aspiration. He had to have a feeding tube placed. He stayed in the hospital for five weeks before coming to us at Life Care Center of Jacksonville.

When we first met Mr. Collins, he was still very weak. He was short of breath with the slightest of movement. He could not complete a sentence without getting weary or even form a voice loud enough for us to hear. He was dependent with transfers, could not walk and needed a lot of assistance to do any of his activities of daily living. Mr. Collins knew he was in bad shape but didn’t realize just how badly his condition was. He thought he was staying a few days and would be out in a week.

It took another six weeks to get Mr. Collins to a point where he was strong enough to go home. All three disciplines (physical, occupational and speech therapy) worked to get him close to his prior level of function.

By the end of rehab, he was walking 150 feet with standby assistance using a walker and was able to transfer himself independently from one surface to another. He was independent to standby assist with most of his ADLs. His swallow function went from severe to mild, and he was able to go home on a mechanical soft diet with nectar-thick liquids. His feeding tube was eventually discharged.

With a renewed ability to speak in complete sentences without becoming short of breath, Mr. Collins expressed his utmost appreciation to the staff here at Life Care Center of Jacksonville who have helped him get back to his prior level of function and, most importantly, get back to his passion in reprography.

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