Betty Jefferson, an active 64-year-old, was living a busy life which included spending time with husband, four children and four grandchildren. She also worked eight hours a day at the Kroger deli in addition to spending six more hours running her own baked goods company. "I was a very independent woman and always loved taking care of my family and others," said Betty.
All of that changed in November when Betty experienced a medical event that drastically impacted her daily life and routine. She remembers being with her family that afternoon and her son leaving to run a quick errand. When he returned, he found Betty on the couch with her eyes rolled back in her head. He called 911 and she was transported to the hospital where she was diagnosed with COVID-19 (asymptomatic) and a stroke.
Upon hospitalization, Betty’s impairments began to surface, such as reduced physical mobility, difficulty swallowing and strained verbal communication. After 10 days, Betty was a stabilized and ready for the next step in her recovery. She transferred to Select Rehabilitation Hospital of Denton.
One of Betty’s main goals upon admission was to be able to speak clearly again since communicating with her clients was very important to her. She also wanted to focus on strengthening her swallowing muscles to get back to a regular diet, as well as improving balance and walking.
Occupational therapy focused on helping Betty regain strength to relearn and complete basic tasks such as self-feeding, grooming, getting dressed, bathing, toileting and transferring to different surfaces while utilizing adaptive equipment. Initially, most tasks required moderate to maximum assistance due to her weakened physical endurance and impairments following her stroke.
Betty’s physical therapists focused on tasks involving bed mobility, transferring, walking, wheelchair mobility and stairs. Her treatment sessions included interventions such as using the parallel bars to help with balance and body awareness, exercises to strengthen her lower extremities, walking indoor and outdoor over various surfaces with a rolling walker and participation in balance activities to improve standing tolerance and reduce fall risk.
Betty’s speech-language pathologist worked on improving her ability to swallow and communicate with greater clarity. Treatment interventions included oral motor exercises, dysarthria (slurred speech) communication strategies, diet trials, and training on swallow strategies. Therapists also installed apps on her cell phone and tablet to assist with communication.
Betty expressed how grateful she was for her family and husband during her recovery. “I could not have made it without their love and support,” said Betty. They participated in family training sessions so that they would be able to provide the best care for Betty when she discharged.
After nearly two weeks at Select Rehabilitation Hospital, Betty returned home to her beloved family, though she plans to continue her recovery with outpatient speech and physical therapy.
Betty expressed her appreciation for her positive overall rehabilitation experience. “It was hard to be dependent on others, but everyone was so kind and helped me with everything I needed.”