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The PATH to recovery

Jean Burch, now healthy and back to traveling the world with her friend, daughter and son-in-law.[/caption]

After a hospital stay for injury, illness or surgery, seniors often they are well enough to be released from the hospital, but not well enough to go straight return home. Salina Presbyterian Manor bridges this gap with its Post-Acute To Home (PATH) program for short-term rehabilitation.

PATH is open to anyone in the Salina area. It’s especially helpful to residents of Presbyterian Manor, who can recover and receive therapy in more familiar surroundings. Here’s what a couple of residents had to say about their recent PATH experiences.

Sue Vince

Sue had her right knee replaced in April to correct a lifelong issue with knock knees. She spent three days recovering at the surgery center, then transferred to the PATH program for rehabilitation – although she didn’t even feel like she needed it. “I was not one of their better patients because I said ‘I’m not just going to sit here in the bed. When I want to do something I’m going to get my walker and go.”

Sue did follow directions, however, and underwent 10 days of therapy before returning to her townhome.

The PATH staff was very caring, she said, and she was even more impressed with her therapists. “One guy in particular, he really worked me -- which was OK; that’s what I was there for.”

Some of the other people in rehab had a much longer process ahead of them than Sue. But she was impressed by how understanding and patient the PATH and therapy staff members were with those who couldn’t do the more difficult exercises.

Jean Burch

Last November, Jean fell and broke her leg. When she returned to the manor for rehab and therapy in the PATH program, she said she was helpless. She needed assistance to get in and out of bed or a chair, to shower and to dress.

“The nurses were always happy to help and to show me how,” she said. But soon she was well enough to embark on a twice-a-day therapy regimen, which helped her gain strength and confidence. She had hit her head during her fall, so her therapy also involved standing while doing activities like jigsaw puzzles, to improve her vertigo.

Within three weeks she was making Christmas wreaths and party mix. “I was proud when they used my wreath to decorate the door,” Jean said.

Jean’s PATH stay lasted five and a half weeks. She’s grateful to have PATH right here where she lives, because it made for a smoother transition back to her own home. “It was so handy for my daughter. She stayed two weeks in my apartment after I fell and was able to bring me things.”

A therapist told Jean that, at age 87, the odds were not in her favor. About one-third of people her age who break a leg spend the rest of their life in wheelchair, and another third don’t survive the trauma. “I was in the lucky one-third,” Jean said. “I can now walk around the lake six times most days.”

And that’s not all. This summer, just seven months after breaking her leg, Jean traveled to Europe with a friend and her daughter and son-in-law. Together they spent three unforgettable weeks touring northern Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria and Germany, thanks to Jean’s successful therapy and rehabilitation.

Jake Mitchell

In 2013, Jake Mitchell was rear-ended in his truck on Interstate 135 and left with devastating injuries, including a collapsed vertebra, a collapsed lung and several cracked ribs. At age 75, Jake was in excellent physical condition from working out and riding his bicycle hundreds of miles a year. But he still faced a long, difficult recovery.

After three weeks in intensive care, Jake transferred to our PATH program in October 2013. He spent the next four months in physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Last year, he told us: “In rehab, I can remember coming back from physical therapy and it was all I could do to hold up a magazine to read it. I’ve made a dramatic improvement.”

A few months after Jake completed rehab, he made the permanent move to an apartment at Presbyterian Manor. Today, he’s back to his regular exercise routine, hitting the YMCA at 5 a.m., six days a week.

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