Life Care Centers of America
Heidi Pino

Bernard Dinatale served his country during World War II, and recently, the staff at Life Care Center of Leominster, Massachusetts, gave back to the war veteran by helping him recover from COVID-19.

“I survived World War II; I can survive now,” Bernard said. He was a corporal in the U.S. Air Guard.

The coronavirus left Bernard weak, both due to the virus directly and also due to his isolation in his room following COVID-19 protocols. He already had osteoarthritis, but the illness left his hips and knees even stiffer. He was also having difficulty swallowing and was on a puree-texture diet.

The therapy team at Life Care Center of Leominster set out to help Bernard return to his prior level of function. He took part in physical, occupational and speech therapies. Physical therapists worked with him on strengthening, transfer training and therapeutic exercises, while occupational therapists focused on restoring his self-care skills. Speech therapists did oral-motor strengthening exercises with him to upgrade him to a mechanical-soft diet.

“He was always willing to give therapy a try,” said Pamela Walls, director of rehab services. “His attitude was inspiring.”

Bernard completed his rehab program in September 2020. He is now at a supervision level for wheelchair mobility, sitting balance, self-feeding and hygiene and needs minimal assistance with bed mobility, transfers and standing balance.

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