Thirty-nine-year-old Derrick Thorpe was recently the youngest patient receiving therapy at The Heritage Center in Morristown, Tennessee.
Derrick had a stroke that left him unable to move the right side of his body. He came to the skilled nursing and rehab center on Nov. 7, 2020, unable to walk or speak.
Derek needed extensive assistance for standing balance and understanding language and needed moderate assistance for getting in and out of bed, bathing and dressing. He also needed some assistance with bed mobility, sitting balance and hygiene. He was on a feeding tube when he arrived and had limitations on what foods and drinks he could handle – pureed foods and nectar-thick beverages. He was very frustrated, especially by his inability to communicate.
Derrick and his therapists were determined to get him back to as much independence as possible. Physical and occupational therapists used neurodevelopmental training to help his brain communicate better with his body, and they were able to get his right leg working again.
In speech therapy, Derrick worked hard in speech-language training, treatment for aphasia and swallowing exercises.
“Derrick gave 100 percent during intensive therapy,” shared Charity Smith, speech therapist. “He is now happy he can eat a regular diet, while drinking his favorite, Mountain Dew! Communication is a key part of our everyday life, and there are many forms which Derrick is now utilizing to communicate with others (gestural, written, verbal, pictorial, etc.). He has worked diligently with speech therapy on writing, spelling, reading, auditory comprehension, expression and compensatory strategies to rebuild his foundation in communication and provide tools for further growth.”
In the realm of PT and OT, Derrick is now independent in his bed mobility, transfers from one surface to another, sitting balance and hygiene. He is at a supervision level for walking and standing, as well as getting dressed, and a minimal-assistance level for bathing.
“Derrick worked hard practicing his home exercise program daily and participated in therapy sessions daily to progress toward transitioning home and returning to his prior level of function,” said Elizabeth Meek, physical therapist assistant.
He went home with his mother on Jan. 29, 2021.
“The staff was nice and helpful,” Derrick said. “The food was good.”