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Success Story: Jeff

Jeff had been a successful student athlete; his days were consumed by track and field and football. As he got older, Jeff spent his life taking care of family and friends; caring for them unconditionally.

Unfortunately, Jeff, neglected to take care of himself during these times. Eventually, he was admitted to the hospital with seizure activity and gait disturbance. His anxiety and fear of falling created numerous obstacles. Jeff also had difficulty expressing his thoughts (expressive aphasia). He knew what he needed/wanted to say but was unable to get those thoughts out.

When Jeff came to The Gardens at Camp Hill he was introduced to the team and expressed his fear of falling to each and every member. The therapy staff worked with Jeff on just simple things, such as rolling side to side, and eventually completing supine to sit transfers. Jeff was extremely cautious and needed maximum encouragement from the therapists.

After multiple days of completing bed mobility tasks and supine to sit Jeff began to trust the therapists. He trusted two of them to transfer him out of bed into a wheelchair. The physical therapy staff brought him to the gym for the first time and he started completing various strength-building exercises. The occupational therapist also started looking for an appropriate seating system to stop Jeff from sliding out of his chair. He was given a tilt in space chair allowing Jeff to relax resulting in decreased anxiety.

Jeff was able to express thoughts and wants after working with speech therapy. Jeff was able to yell for help when he witnessed another resident fall. After a month of therapy, Jeff’s insurance cut him from therapy; however, the therapists continued to see motivation and potential in Jeff.

Physical therapy and occupational therapy picked Jeff back up on caseload a couple days later. Both disciplines worked on strengthening and took baby steps again to assist Jeff with transfers and educating staff to transfer Jeff as well. Jeff gets up into his seating system every day and is still participating in therapy.

A couple of weeks ago our physical therapy assistant, Susan Brubaker, our COTA Jen Rush and our OT Joyce Cullen started working with Jeff. He stated how badly he wished he could stand and walk again. Susan, Jen and Joyce then assisted Jeff to the parallel bars where they worked with him on standing, balance, and posture in the parallel bars. Jeff is now not only standing in the parallel bars but ambulates from the parallel bars to a walker and is able to walk approximately 75 feet with a rolling walker.

Jeff, through tears of joy, stated “I cannot believe I walked again. I thought I would never be able to walk again.” Susan, Jen and Joyce all responded in a group therapy discussion “Jeff—Now that is the reason we get up every day and do what we do!”

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