Evelyn McCann, an 80-year-old beekeeper from Laveen, Arizona, recently used Life Care Center of North Glendale, Arizona’s professional rehabilitation services to regain strength after a breast cancer diagnosis and mastectomy.
McCann came to the skilled nursing and rehab center on March 27 with drains and a 5-10 pound upper extremity weight restriction, which made her activities of daily living, such as brushing her hair, bathing and getting dressed, very difficult. She was able to walk 10 feet on the parallel bars and needed moderate assistance for getting in and out of bed.
Physical and occupational therapists met with McCann five days a week to help her increase strength and mobility. In occupational therapy, she worked on regaining the ability to do simple tasks at home, such as cooking, in addition to self-care. She had a lot of pain in her hands from burns from the cancer treatments and had no functional pinch or grip when she arrived, and the OT team helped her with pain management in addition to retraining her in the use of her hands and arms.
“Evelyn has worked very hard to return home alone,” said Leslie Hughes, occupational therapist assistant.
In physical therapy, McCann worked on her mobility, including walking. Due to her hand issues, gripping a walker was difficult. It took a lot of effort in the beginning to even stand up from a wheelchair. But she persevered.
“Therapy helped me learn new ways to do things,” said McCann.
McCann is now able to walk 100 feet with a walker and only requires stand-by assistance to transfer from one surface to another (such as a bed to the walker).
“Not only did we assist her to regain function, but the team educated her on adaptive equipment and a home exercise program that will help her maintain her levels even as she continues her cancer treatments,” said Matt Highfill, assistant director of rehab.