Ruth Gunter was living an active life when several medical issues got in the way. She went to the hospital in October 2021 with an acute kidney injury, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, high white blood cell count and encephalopathy (brain disfunction), and then she developed a C-diff infection and was placed on a feeding tube.
When Ruth arrived at Life Care Center of Ooltewah, Tennessee, for therapy, she was extremely weak. She was off the feeding tube, but she was on a pureed diet because she was unable to swallow safely. She was also unable to walk and needed total assistance with getting in and out of bed, bathing and dressing, as well as extensive assistance with all of her other mobility tasks and hygiene routines. Her cognition and language skills had been impaired, too.
All three therapy disciplines (physical, occupational and speech therapies) worked with Ruth and her family to help her achieve her goal of getting home and regaining her independence.
The physical therapy team focused on lower-body strengthening, standing balance and gait training for walking, while occupational therapists worked with Ruth on activity pacing, self-care training and upper-body strengthening. For their part, speech therapy helped Ruth with compensatory strategies for swallowing so that she could swallow safely and eat normally again. They also helped her with cognition and recall of information.
“I want to compliment you all on your choice of therapists and nurses,” Ruth shared at the end of her therapy program. “When I came here, I could not even sit up in the bed, let alone get out of it and walk. By the grace of God, I am a walking, talking, singing miracle! Jesus gets the praise, and then you, from the bottom of my heart!”
Ruth reached her goals and returned home on Feb. 16, 2022. She is once again her usual self and independent in her mobility, self-care, cognition and swallowing. She’s back to enjoying the life she loves!