Alex Olaes is a COVID-19 survivor!
Alex works as a certified nursing assistant at another skilled nursing facility in San Diego, California. He tested positive for COVID-19 after having respiratory difficulty for a week. He was admitted to the ICU on March 27, 2020, and was intubated for acute respiratory syndrome due to the coronavirus.
Alex had complications with dysphagia (swallowing difficulty), requiring a feeding tube. He was extubated on April 13 and tested negative for COVID-19 on April 20 and 21. He transferred to Life Care Center of Vista, California, on April 23 due to severe deconditioning.
When Alex was evaluated for therapy on April 24, he required maximum to total assistance for dressing and bathing tasks. He transferred [from one surface to another] with moderate assistance but was unable to walk due to poor endurance and activity tolerance. Alex was receiving all nutrition and medicine through his feeding tube. He was dependent on supplemental oxygen.
Week after week with daily therapy and nursing care, Alex’s strength and endurance improved. He began walking with a walker and initiating self-care tasks with the help of physical and occupational therapy.
Nursing, the dietitian and speech therapy worked closely together to ensure Alex was receiving adequate nutrition. He was finally strong enough to participate in a swallowing study at the hospital and passed!
Alex is currently walking more than 300 feet with no assistive device. He is able to complete 16 steps so he can sleep in his own bed at home. He is dressing and showering himself independently. The feeding tube has been removed, and he is tolerating a mechanical soft diet with nectar-thick liquids. He can swallow whole pills and take care of his own aspiration precautions.
“I’m now independent,” Alex said. “This is a wonderful place. People helped me a lot. Speech therapy helped me swallow again, and PT and OT helped a lot for walking and exercises.”
Alex is a survivor! He returned home to his family on May 20.