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

When COVID-19 hit John Wilson, it hit him hard.

John was hospitalized not only with COVID but also with pneumonia and respiratory failure. He was on a ventilator for 10 days.

When John arrived at The Heritage Center in Morristown, Tennessee, for rehabilitation on Aug. 24, 2021, he was unable to walk, stand, get dressed, talk or even wheel himself in a wheelchair. He needed extensive assistance with transfers, such as getting out of bed into a wheelchair, and with sitting balance. He needed moderate assistance with bed mobility and hygiene, as well as swallowing.

The therapy team was determined to help John get back to as much of his pre-COVID independence as possible.

And speech therapy focused on helping John get his voice and swallowing abilities back. The speech therapist, Casey Mask, used thermal and gustatory tactile stimulation and taught him oral and pharyngeal swallowing exercises, as well as voice strategies and exercises.

“Working with John has been a pleasure,” said Casey. “He has been motivated since day one and has invested in his own recovery, both during therapy sessions and between sessions by completing assigned exercises.”

Physical therapy worked with John on strength and mobility, even using the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill to work on his gait while relieving up to 80 percent of his body weight.

Occupational therapy addressed his ability to do daily self-care tasks like bathing, dressing and brushing his teeth.

“Words cannot express the feelings of appreciation and gratitude for all the staff here at The Heritage Center,” John shared. “I entered this facility four weeks ago and could not move. Clint Eastwood spoke louder than me, and I thought I would be dependent on others for my care. At age 52, that was hard to swallow.

“Everyone in therapy believed in me and brought me hope during my darkest hours,” John continued. “Four weeks later, I can walk without a walker, can talk and eat regular food and only need assistance having food brought to me. I could not ask for a better group of people to help me regain my confidence and dignity.”

John was able to return home on Sept. 22.

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