“We can’t take life for granted.”
These were the words of Raymond Niemi, an 82-year-old who lived independently until he met a very bad car accident and sustained several injuries, including a left ankle fracture, L5-S1 fracture, multiple left-sided rib fractures and mandible and sacral fractures. Part of his hospitalization included an L5-21 fusion, ankle surgery and a feeding tube placement due to a chronic odontoid fracture from a previous car accident. He was hospitalized for almost a month before being transferred to our facility to receive rehabilitation in order to go home.
Raymond came to us with a medical boot, non-weight bearing on the left leg and a back brace. He needed moderate assistance with his transfers and his walking using a rolling walker. He needed a lot of assistance with all his activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing and personal hygiene. He felt very awkward and uncomfortable moving around with a brace on his leg and on his body, but he knew that he had to do what was needed to be able to go home.
All therapies – physical, occupational and speech – were involved in Raymond’s care. Therapists trained him in his transfers, walking, swallowing, taking care of himself and putting on and taking off his leg and back braces.
Taking one day at a time, Raymond showed improvements with each step. He worked hard because he knew he had to go home and start living independently again and couldn’t wait for that day to come. If he could have fast-forwarded the days, he would have.
After six weeks, Raymond was walking independently and getting in and out of bed without any help. His leg and back braces were discontinued, which made it much easier for him to perform his daily living activities, done at set-up level. He can tolerate small bites of soft-textured foods and follows the strategies and guidelines given to him to swallow safely. He was ready to go home with his daughters, who will help him for a few days. He was very complimentary of all the staff here at Life Care Center of Jacksonville who helped give him another chance to live his life again.