Life Care Centers of America
Heidi Pino, Life Care Public Relations

Gebreselam Gebrekidan had a rough time when he contracted COVID-19 in January 2021.

He ended up in the hospital and had to have surgery on his spleen.

On Feb. 10, 2021, Gebreselam came to Life Care Center of North Glendale, Arizona, for rehabilitation.

“He was barely able to wiggle his fingers when he first admitted to our facility,” said Connor Hempel, director of rehab services. “That’s about all he could move.”

Gebreselam was also unable to swallow, in part due to being on a breathing tube in the hospital, and he was on a feeding tube.

Physical, occupational and speech therapists all worked with Gebreselam to reach his goals. Physical therapy started out working on strengthening and sitting balance first, then as he progressed, they were able to train him using exercise equipment on strength, endurance and range of motion. They worked on sit-to-stand exercises and transitioned into transfer training. Finally, toward the end of his stay, he was able to practice going up and down steps and use a car transfer simulator.

Occupational therapy started out using the hand-over-hand method for training Gebreselam in grooming and upper-body strengthening. As he advanced, they also retrained him in his other activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing.

In speech therapy, Gebreselam worked on swallowing skills using swallow exercises and supervised trials of different textures. He progressed from a pureed diet to regular solids and textures.

“Gebreselam pushed himself above and beyond what was asked of him,” said Brett Newton, occupational therapist.

“I’m very happy with this place – 100 percent overall for nursing and therapy,” said Gebreselam. “I’m no longer limited. I feel safe and comfortable.”

Gebreselam returned home with home health on March 24. He is now fully mobile. He is at a supervision level for hygiene and dressing and requires minimum assistance with bathing. He is continuing physical and occupational therapies in his home.

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