Susana Gonzalez is a walking example of how rehabilitation can help even long-term care residents enjoy a better quality of life.
Gonzalez came to Wooldridge Place Nursing Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Sept. 3, 2015. She was recovering from a gastrointestinal bleed and a Clostridium difficile, or C. diff., infection, and was unable to walk. She required maximum assistance for simple tasks like grooming and getting out of bed, and, on top of that, she had difficulty swallowing and was on a textured diet as a result.
Therapists met with Gonzalez and her daughter to see what they could do to make her stay and her life more fulfilling and independent, and together they set several goals. They worked toward Gonzalez being independent in her activities of daily living, as well as able to walk with a walker and someone there beside her. She also wanted to get back to a regular diet.
“Susana had a positive response when challenged,” shared Liza Dionio, physical therapist. “She made challenges above and beyond the goals set up every week. Each achievement was all from her hard work and willingness to progress.”
Five days a week, Gonzalez took part in physical and occupational therapies. In PT, she worked on strengthening exercises and re-learning to walk, and in OT, she practiced self-care tasks. Therapists also used electrical stimulation to help lessen her pain.
“The therapy has helped me regain confidence and realize that I can potentially walk again,” said Gonzalez, “even though I couldn’t take one step when I first arrived.”
Speech therapists taught Gonzalez swallowing exercises that helped her get back to eating the foods she enjoys – in their normal textures.
“My stay has been pleasant,” she said. “The staff members all seem to care and look out for all the residents. The rehab team is outstanding – they keep track of your progress and encourage you.”
Gonzalez was able to go home for the holidays, being able to assist her family with getting in and out of their car.
“That made a big difference to her,” said Dionio.
Gonzalez reached her therapy goals on Jan. 4, 2016, and is able to get around the facility with a walker with someone beside her.