Life Care Centers of America
Violet Petrikas, Life Care Communications

In November 2022, Ethel Helms was living alone in her home in Decatur, Tennessee, when she began to feel unwell. After experiencing extreme fatigue and shortness of breath, she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with COVID-19 and respiratory failure.

Ethel made a good recovery in the hospital, but the sickness had caused her body to become weak. As a result, she was unable to do even simple daily tasks on her own, so she decided to come to Life Care Center of Cleveland to rehabilitate and get herself strong again.

When Ethel arrived at the facility on Nov. 21, she required help for every task. She also had an extreme fear of falling and required maximum assistance to stand, ambulate and transfer.

Interdisciplinary therapy and nursing teams created a personalized care plan for Ethel based on her abilities and rehab goals, and she began working with Jonathan Wash, certified occupational therapy assistant, and Kelly Newbould, physical therapist assistant, to increase her functionality and strength.

Five times a week, Ethel participated in daily activity and balance training. At first, she was anxious to stand and walk, but Jonathan and Kelly provided support and encouraged her, and with each transfer and walking practice, she grew stronger and bolder.

By late January 2023, Ethel had regained much of her strength and confidence, and she was on track to discharge to an assisted living apartment at Garden Plaza at Cleveland.

Knowing she would soon be transferring to her own apartment, Jonathan and Kelly began providing Ethel with exercises and activities that would help make the transition to her new home less stressful. They walked Ethel to her new apartment and practiced daily living activities with her in the facility’s simulated ADL suite. Kelly even came to the apartment to help Ethel practice transferring in and out of the shower.

“I think the main thing about therapy is that they made me believe in myself,” Ethel said about her therapy experience. “These two, Jonathan and Kelly, are really good. I’ve enjoyed it all.”

When Ethel discharged from the facility on Jan. 28, she was performing sit-to-stand on her own and was transferring with standby assist. She also could walk over 400 feet without stopping.

“It’s been a joy, it’s been a pleasure,” Jonathan and Kelly said about working with Ethel. “She’s made it easy because she wants to get better. It’s one of those things that, when you see a patient, but you know they have such potential, and then they reach their potential – she realized her potential. As a therapist, that doesn’t always happen, and when it does happen, it’s a golden moment for a therapist. It’s what we do our job for.”

“I just love Kelly and Jonathan; I tried to take Kelly home with me, but –” Ethel teased before she and Kelly burst into irrepressible laughter.

Ethel is enrolled in the facility’s outpatient program and will continue to work with Kelly in physical therapy. She is a wonderful example of a rehab success and what we do here at Life Care Centers of America, and we are so incredibly proud of her.

Way to go, Ethel!

Where to Start

Find a Location

Life Care Locations

Life Care operates or manages more than 200 skilled nursing, rehabilitation, Alzheimer's and senior living campuses in 27 states.

Find a Location