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Rehabilitation therapists motivate patient to heal

Sedro‐Woolley | July 31, 2020
Jessic Diruss and Cyndi K at PeaceHealth United General
After experiencing a stroke, a patient finds the determination to recover with help from three rehabilitation therapists.

Healing the body takes energy, time and sometimes really hard work.

Kind words of encouragement and a positive approach to care can make a real difference for patients and serve as inspiration for them to give back in unexpected ways.

Cyndi K., a recent patient at PeaceHealth United General Medical Center in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, suffered multiple strokes that left her feeling weak and unable to walk without aid of assistive devices. Emotionally, she felt beaten down by her own body with little will left to get up and get moving.

Forty-eight hours after being admitted to the Acute Care Unit, the motivational rehabilitation therapy trio of Jessica DiRusso, DPT, Jon Kamp, DPT, and Elizabeth Coit, MOT, helped change her outlook.

Through daily therapy sessions, these therapists brought their positive energy and shared persistent words of encouragement with Cyndi. Asking gently to push “just a little more” or repeat one more movement, she slowly regained function and hope.

Against the odds

The odds were stacked against her, but Cyndi kept working through the sometimes-painful post-stroke rehabilitation exercises to regain strength and flexibility. Over time, her improvement and the experience of working with these caregivers made her more determined to succeed. Cyndi continued to work towards healing with a goal to function on her own and walk unassisted.

It should be noted that during her stay, Cyndi passed the time reading. Unfortunately, she had the wrong prescription readers with her and needed to wear two pairs of glasses at once to be able to see clearly. Therapists noted this and quickly gave Cyndi a pair of glasses so she was able to participate effectively in her environment – giving her more independence, control and participation in her care.

The value of reading glasses 

“As a component of the swing bed activities program, we always try to provide reading glasses for our patients,” said Coit, “These often get broken during a fall or left at home. Not everyone has family to bring these items to our patients, so we fill in the gap.” 

Patients appreciate the glasses which help them pass the time reading, doing word searches and catching up on the daily news. Additionally, patients receive a lot of medical paperwork to complete, along with therapeutic exercise programs and community resources to review.  “Without the aid of the reading glasses – all purchased and supplied by therapy and nursing staff on the Acute Care Unit– patients couldn’t read important information,” added Coit.   

Back on her feet

After a nearly two-weeks in the Swing Bed Program, Cyndi discharged home. Within a short time, she was back on her feet and feeling proud of her accomplishments. It was important for her to thank therapists DiRusso, Kamp and Coit by demonstrating the strength and abilities gained after working with each of them, so arrangements were made for a short visit.

On July 9, Cyndi returned to UGMC – walking independently through the main doors of the medical center to thank DiRusso and the rehab staff.

In her hand, she carried a plastic bag filled with new reading glasses of various strengths for patients to use while receiving care!

It was a gesture of gratitude for the powerful gift of health, hope and comfort facilitated by three dedicated and caring PeaceHealth caregivers.

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