George Mireku was critically ill with COVID-19, but he survived, and now, thanks to rehabilitation at Life Care Center of Leominster, Massachusetts, he is back home again.
George had several medical complications, including pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis, atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. When he arrived at the skilled nursing and rehab facility from the hospital on Feb. 17, 2021, he was dependent with transfers from surface to surface, as well as with bed mobility. He was unable to walk and required specialty seating. He needed assistance with his activities of daily living, such as bathing, getting dressed and feeding himself. He had very limited use of his hands and had difficulty swallowing, so he was on a mechanical soft diet.
All three therapy disciplines (physical, occupational and speech), along with respiratory therapist Randy Flematti, worked with George to help him restore as much function as possible.
George started out dependent on supplemental oxygen. He underwent PEP (positive expiratory pressure therapy), which uses a device to help remove secretions in patients with active pulmonary conditions. This aided with keeping his lungs clear to combat the pneumonia. He learned breathing exercises to help with his shortness of breath.
In physical therapy, George used neuromuscular reeducation and gait training, as well as wheelchair positioning. Occupational therapy helped him with therapeutic activities, and speech therapy addressed his difficulty swallowing with oral function therapy.
“George was incredibly motivated to work with all of us,” said Randy. “It was a great feeling to see him walk out of the facility on his own.”
George returned home in March. He is no longer on supplemental oxygen and no longer struggles with shortness of breath. He is independent in bed mobility, transfers and able to walk more than 300 feet with a rolling walker. He can manage a flight of stairs and can feed himself and take care of his self-care with setup assistance.
“George was discharged in only about two weeks,” said Pamela Walls, director of rehab services. “We have never seen anyone progress so quickly.”
“My wife was happy I was close to home for my therapy,” George said. “They made me strong again when I thought I was never going to go home. Everybody worked hard to make me strong and get me home.”