August 2010 -
“A coincidence is when God performs a miracle and decides to remain anonymous.” – Author Unknown
For Rebecca Dent, life as she knew it changed in the spring of 2010. That was when she contracted the H1N1 flu virus; and, as a result, developed a severe lung infection complicated by pneumonia. After spending two weeks at WCA Hospital (Jamestown), she was discharged to Heritage Green Rehab & Skilled Nursing (Greenhurst) to begin her long road of rehabilitation. She entered Heritage Green feeling, in her own words, “depressed and unable to do anything but lie flat on my back.”
In addition to Rebecca’s medical condition, she had the added burden of her excessive weight. When she entered the Heritage Green facility, she weighed over 500 pounds. Her weight had ballooned to this point due to the retention of a lot of fluids in her body as a result of her medical condition and medication issues.
When an individual is severely obese, it is difficult to utilize the services of a rehab facility if it is not equipped to meet the varied needs of a bariatric patient. So, Rebecca’s choices were very limited in this area of New York State. Fortunately, the social worker at the hospital recommended a Heritage Ministries’ facility; and she discovered Heritage Green was equipped to accommodate her. Mary Lou Clark, Director of Admissions for Heritage Ministries, explains, “We admit bariatric patients when sometimes no other facilities will. We work diligently to accommodate the unique needs of a bariatric patient at our facilities. Our mission is to promote hope, dignity, and purposeful living. We strive to provide each of those human needs on a daily basis.”
“When I entered Heritage Green, I could not do anything for myself,” Rebecca says. “I could barely move any part of my body and thought I’d be confined to my bed for a long time. I was very nervous when the social worker at the hospital informed me that my only option would be to enter a nursing facility for rehabilitation. I thought nursing homes were only for older people. This was not the place I belonged…boy, was I wrong!”
In addition to receiving care for her pneumonia, Rebecca immediately began rehab therapy at Heritage Green five days a week. At first, it was a challenge to position Rebecca in an upright setting without her becoming dizzy. With the encouragement of the Heritage Green staff, she finally moved into a sitting position, and eventually into the rehab room to begin her therapy. Rebecca remembers, “Just sitting up was very hard for me, so I needed plenty of encouragement from the staff at Heritage Green. The therapists did encourage and help me focus on the task at hand and begin my rehabilitation. Karen (Bower), Mary Jo (Brunecz), Pam (Angeletti), Paul (Mazzone), Teri (Kress) and Scott (Devereaux) were 100 percent supportive and pushed me to my limits. They truly cared about me as an individual.”
Rebecca’s rehabilitation began slowly as it took some time to get her to the point of receiving therapy. Karen Bower, Physical Therapist, remembers, “When Rebecca first entered rehab, she was confined to a geriatric chair. Her initial goal was to sit upright without getting dizzy. Once she was able to sit upright without any dizziness, she was then transferred to a wheelchair. This made rehab much easier for her. Once Rebecca moved to a wheelchair, her next goal was to stand. She was able to consistently accomplish this, so we advanced to walking. After a number of rehab sessions, Rebecca was able to successfully walk on her own for about 25 feet. This was quite an accomplishment in a short period of time considering she was unsure if she’d ever get out of bed.”
When working with a bariatric patient, Karen understands that, “there are many challenges as we adapt exercises and equipment to meet her needs and enable her to do rehab exercises for herself. Rebecca was a very hard worker and motivated our other rehab residents to achieve more. Since her admission and discharge home, she has lost 150 pounds! That is simply amazing and a testament to her willingness to succeed.”
LIFE IS A JOURNEY
As Rebecca leaves Heritage Green Rehab & Skilled Nursing to return home, she looks back fondly on the journey of the last ten weeks in rehabilitation. “It is awesome how much I’ve been able to accomplish here,” Rebecca states. “I now have the confidence and self motivation to continue exercising, eating right, and losing weight. This facility is such a wonderful and caring place. Every person, from the therapists to the maintenance staff, made me feel at home and always asked me if there was anything I needed. I worked previously as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home in West Virginia. The care I received at Heritage Green was by far the best care I have ever experienced. In fact, my experience was so wonderful here, my daughter Michelle is planning to attend nursing school. I would recommend Heritage Green to anyone!”
The day of Rebecca’s discharge was also coincidentally her birthday. Before she left, Heritage Green staff provided her with a small birthday cake and lots of laughter and tears. After her discharge, Rebecca shared she wants to spend more time with her family, relax, and enjoy life. She also is motivated to lose 100 more pounds by the end of this year. Judging by the success she had at Heritage Green, Rebecca is confident she can accomplish this lofty goal.
REHABILATION AT HERITAGE
Heritage Ministries offers short-term rehabilitation at Heritage Green (Greenhurst), Heritage Village (Gerry), and Heritage Park (Jamestown) Rehab and Skilled Nursing. This non-profit, human service ministry organization receives referrals from several hospitals, rehab centers, and assisted living facilities from throughout the region. “As Rebecca stated, many individuals don't realize skilled nursing facilities offer short-term rehabilitation,” states Mark Constantino, Rehab Services Manager. “However, over the past six years, the Heritage Ministries Rehab and Skilled Nursing facilities have made short-term rehabilitation one of its top priorities. With a commitment to offering the latest therapy interventions, and to meet the needs of our community, our rehab department has grown to one of the largest in Chautauqua County. Additionally, we are proud of the fact that we were the first rehab facility in the area to specialize in providing rehabilitation for the bariatric population.”
To learn more about Rehabilitation: The Heritage Way, including Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy, please contact Heritage Admissions at (716) 484-6695.