For people recovering from an illness or surgery that are well enough to be released from the hospital, but not well enough to go home there is a new short term rehab program at Avera Marshall called Transitional Care. Nancy Naeve Brown shows you how a Minnesota man is who was on death's doorstep is working his way back to living thanks to intense therapy during his transition to independence.
Jerry Livermore from Clarkfield, Minnesota, which is about 25 miles north of Marshall, spends everyday doing intense therapy. Getting better has become his full time job since he got infected with West Nile Virus in July of 2010. It left him completely debilitated for months, paralyzed from head to toe, unable to talk or breathe or eat on his own.
Jerry says, "I couldn't do nothing. I just laid there for 50 or 60 days."
Considering Jerry came so close to dying it's a miracle he's moving at all. Once he got well enough, he spent 5 months in Transitional Care, a short term rehab unit here at Avera Marshall. In a special wing in Avera Morningside Heights Center they've equipped 20 rooms and have 24 hour nurse coverage to accommodate a need that wasn't being met in the community until now.
Becky Rolbiecki Nurse Manager of Resident Care of Transitional Care at Avera Morningside Heights Care Center in Marshall says, "Some of them come in and decide I wasn't doing that well at home and this is so much better for me here. I don't have to worry about cooking and getting good meals, we do the laundry and housekeeping and they find their health is better when they don't have to worry about other things."
Jerry says, "I average working out 4 hours a day, 7 days a week."
Occupational therapists have been working on upper body strength too especially his left shoulder since it was affected the worst. He's a custodian at his church and washes windows and wants to get back to doing that. He takes a 5 lb. bar and moves it up and down, side to side working on his core. He gets stronger everyday and wants more challenges everyday.
Jerry says, "The physical and outpatient therapists are really great here. They work you hard. That's what I like. That's how you get better."
Jerry is no longer in transitional care, instead he comes to Avera Marshall for outpatient therapy 3 days a week, plus and his son is always by his side. He's taken a leave of absence from work to help his dad during therapy and at home in Clarkfield. The entire Livermore family and the team around them have their eye on the prize.
Jerry says, "The goal is to walk, to get up and walk. I'm getting closer I think. Never quit."
Thanks to Transitional Care at Avera Marshall and the therapists at Big Stone quitting was never an option for anyone. I promised to come back to see him walk on his own and look forward to that day too.
Transitional Care is for people recovering including those who have had orthopedic surgery, stroke, pneumonia, heart surgery, wound car, IV therapy and other illness. Making progress through therapy with the goal of returning home. Short stays can be from a couple of weeks to several months, depending upon the individual and their progress.