Life Care Centers of America
Jeanette Yamamoto, interim director of rehab

From day one, Roger Lyons wanted to live independently.

Roger retired from Alaska Airlines as a highly trained licensed airframe and power plant Mechanic for 30-plus years. He also served in the Coast Guard. His hobby was building scale model boats.

Roger was admitted to our facility after being diagnosed with a stroke.

The rehab team could sympathize with him, especially since he was one of the youngest seniors in the nursing home. Prior to admission, he was independent with all functional mobility and activities of daily living. He only used a cane sometimes at the end of the day.

Roger struggles with severe Wernicke’s aphasia; some may know this as word salad. I remember meeting him the first day he was admitted to Hallmark Manor in Federal Way, Washington. He was all smiles. He was diagnosed with aphasia following a cerebral infraction, but he was able to express himself randomly, communicating mostly through gestures and pantomiming. Despite this limitation, he was still able to communicate that he very much wanted to return home. 

He received nursing services, as well as speech, occupational and physical therapies at Hallmark.

Chelsea Avery, our speech therapist, gave Roger compensatory communication strategies, techniques for reading and writing and for using his phone and other devices. She introduced him to safety devices to use when out in the community. These improved communication skills via verbal expression, auditory comprehension, reading comprehension and written expression to promote his safety, articulation of wants/needs, independence, quality of life and meaningful interactions across various settings.   

The physical therapy team (Andrew Tham and Kristin Shelton) addressed Roger’s ankle pain and knee pain. Ultrasound was used to his right knee and surrounding structures, right ankle and forefoot, followed by soft tissue massage. An application of an analgesic was recommended as needed. As the treatment progressed, he added strengthening exercises and monitored his pain levels. The therapy treatments decreased pain, and the physical therapist assessed him in an extended outdoor walking activity.   

Physical therapy also completed a functional mobility assessment in the community to determine Roger’s safety before his return home. The physical therapist trained Roger with compensatory strategies due to his impaired visual field to perform all functional mobility safely and independently.

The occupational therapy team (myself, Lana Weidling, Liudamila Naryshnaya and Franciszka Chmielewski) addressed Roger’s self-medication management, financial management, emergency procedure tasks, meal preparation using the microwave and the stove and community tasks such as shopping or buying items through the checkout. Because of the word salad, I sought for a current cognitive functioning level using the Standardized Allen Cognitive Leather Lacing Assessment. The results determined the necessary social support for Roger to function in the least restrictive environment, and we created a caregiver checklist to use for a safe and successful discharge home. 

Both Lana, Roger’s occupational therapist, and Andrew, his physical therapist, completed a home assessment to make sure everything was accessible for him before we discharged him home.

Because of his success with our therapy team, Roger was recently discharged back to his home – the goal he strove for from day one.

“Roger was a pleasure to work with,” said Sang Nguyen, social services director. “He is a very humorous, kind, and active guy. We thought it would be nearly impossible for him to return to the community with the challenges and barriers he had to face. With many ups and downs, Mr. Lyons was able to work diligently with therapy and nursing as well as our social services team in collaboration with his wonderful family to get him to where he wanted to be: back home living his life. We are very happy to see the success in Roger’s physical and emotional status. We wish him the best of luck in the community!”

One thing is for sure: We will miss his smile and daily visits to the therapy gym! 

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