Mid Illinois, Springfield / Decatur

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The Support You Need to Grow Stronger

  December 08, 2016
By Benjamin Goodin

Most people take great pains to rearrange their schedules and responsibilities in order to be home for the holidays. What could be more important than being present when your family and loved ones gather to share holiday traditions and meals? Being able to attend these events presents an even greater challenge for those who find themselves in need of surgery or hospitalization close to the holiday season. What if recovery is slow, or you can’t seem to reach a benchmark your physician would like you to reach before discharging you? Noone wants to miss the holidays, especially if they had to do so in hospital. Worse still, many would opt to spend a holiday isolated at home, rather have their enjoyment of the holiday soured by struggles with basic tasks in front of the loved ones they might not see often. How can you enjoy for the holiday cheer and closeness when climbing the front step or even swallowing is painstaking?

Director of Rehabilitation and speech pathologist Becky Craig at Heartland Health Care Center understands how important sharing time and a meal with family is to her patients. “Sitting down, sharing a meal, bonding — it’s a part of [our] culture. When you have someone who, say, has strict diet restrictions or can’t have anything by mouth, this season can be very difficult for them. They feel very left out and disconnected.” Helping people recover independence and return home as quickly as possible is exactly what Heartland Health Care Center’s therapy services strives to provide.

Recovering from a hospital stay or surgery is tough. Even small procedures can leave a person feeling weakened, and many patients experience some limitation to ability or function after an operation. The most difficult part of recovery is not a lack of energy; more challenging is relearning how to do simple things that were previously taken for granted or finding new methods when unfamiliar limitations bar familiar routines.

At Heartland Health Care, Becky and her team are focused on returning patients home not only quickly, but functioning as independently as possible. Heartland Health Care employs specialists in respiratory, physical, occupational, and speech therapy modalities and strategies to get patients back to the condition they were enjoying before their hospitalizing incident — or in some cases, better. The majority of patients can recover from their injuries and overcome their obstacles to return to their families after an average of 28 days at Heartland Health Care’s Decatur location.

The therapy gym often treats patients who are experiencing difficulty walking or have fractured a hip after a fall in the home. The physical therapists not only get most people back on their feet and safely using a walker and their own two feet, but they work on improving balance, regaining strength, and teach strategies to prevent another fall in the home. While most people think of a hospital as a place to go to get in better health, it is only the first step toward recovery. Lying in a hospital bed may give the body time to stitch wounds, but it can also leave patients feeling fatigued and weakened. The physical therapy gym works with patients needing to regain a bit of vim and vigor after a hospital stay, getting them active and energetic again with physical activity. 

Occupational therapy retrains participants on everyday tasks, preparing them to return and work within their homes with minimal assistance. Patients with injuries that limit their movements or restrict their mobility may find that stretching to reach the top cabinet or stirring up a batch of baked goods may present some new challenges. The occupational therapists help patients adapt to new restrictions or learn better ways of completing old tasks, like moving a dish from the stove to the table, or retrieving objects from cupboards when they need to employ a walker. While returning home can provide a sense of safety, it can also provide an illusion of security. Getting injured at home requires patients develop a new awareness of behaviors and routines that have often become rote, and sometimes careless. Cultivating caution and learning to adapt to new restrictions can let patients not only return home, but stay there safely as well.

Becky’s personal area of expertise, speech therapy, covers much more than just helping people physically form clear and precise words again. Many people who receive speech therapy have suffered from strokes or aphasia, which can prevent them from being able to mentally process their thoughts into physical speech. Working with intellectual and memory-focused exercises, Becky can literally help people find the words they were searching to say. Other patients, like those who suffer from a dysphagia or gastrointestinal dysfunction, often need assistance in relearning how to eat and swallow food. A speech therapist like Becky can help their bodies remember how to chew and swallow, along with helping patients with more complex conditions create strategies to get the nutrition that their bodies need.

Many individual therapists could help patients reach their recovery goals, but Becky and her team believe that Heartland Health Care provides more than just professional guidance. Their services are dedicated to the whole individual: they house many specialties under one roof, so they can collaborate for patients with complex needs, and do so with great convenience. On top of their low average stay duration, the staff has gained the trust and respect of those they serve: a recent survey of 100 discharged patients found that patients felt that their therapists not only took the time to understand their individual needs, but that the staff also helped them make significant progress toward their goals for recovery. Among Heartland patients that incurred new injuries or suffered the return of an old one that required further therapy, many specifically request to return to Heartland’s care again. Patient approval speaks volumes of a healthcare provider’s strength, and Heartland is glad to help their patients grow stronger.

For more information on Heartland Heath Care Center of Decatur, visit www.heartland-manorcare.com or call 217-877-7333. Heartland Health Care Center of Decatur is located at 444 West Harrison Avenue, Decatur, IL. Back to Top

December 08, 2016
Keywords:  Feature Story

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