Life Care Centers of America
David Gagnon, director of rehab services

Rita Dalton came to Life Care Center of Morristown, Tennessee, for help recovering from a serious car accident.

After having spent four weeks in ICU and on life support, a respirator and a feeding tube, Rita arrived on March 25, 2020. The vent had been removed as she was now breathing on her own.

Unable to do any self-care, Rita felt helpless. Having been a delivery room nurse for many years and helping so many others during their time of need, it was very depressing to now be the one who was helpless.

“I’m a 45-year-old woman who is unable to swallow and can’t walk – what’s wrong with me?” Rita said.

Maybe it is a blessing that Rita has absolutely no recollection of the accident or the events that immediately followed. She only knows what her loved ones told her and that she is blessed to even be alive.

Upon Rita’s admission to Life Care Center of Morristown, she was evaluated by all three therapies. Physical and occupational therapies helped her to become independent once again with transfers, dressing, bathing and walking.

Speech therapists did a FEES swallow study upon her admission that showed that she was aspirating everything, the same results that the hospital swallow test had revealed. Twenty-eight days later, through a lot of hard work, determination and oral-motor exercises, Rita passed the follow-up FEES test. She was now able to tolerate regular liquids and a mechanical soft diet without any difficulties at all.

Around the same time, Rita was walking with a quad cane and stand-by guard assistance.

Throughout her stay during this pandemic, Rita’s friends and family faithfully visited outside her window and communicated via cell phone. This encouragement, along with cards and flowers, helped to speed her recovery.

Rita went home on May 8.

Our last sighting of Rita was of her enjoying the great outdoors with her close friend Bobbie as they toured around in her Mustang convertible.

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