Rob Gilbert was a spinal cord patient at HealthSouth Treasure Coast Rehabilitation Hospital. He had been bedridden for two months, could not stand and was unable to do his own activities of daily living. He had swallowing and respiratory issues and had a tracheostomy, a tube used for breathing, and a feeding tube.
“I am six feet six inches tall and I weighed 280 pounds when I arrived,” said Gilbert. “Imagine trying to get me out of bed.”
Initially, a Hoyer Lift was used. The staff was creative at adapting equipment for his size and situation.
“I hadn’t had a shower in two months and they were able to adapt equipment for me to be able to bathe. I was unable to stand or walk when I arrived. Physical therapy had me sitting on the edge of the bed and I couldn’t do that for more than 30 seconds. I would practice sitting on the edge of the bed and that led to standing. It took almost four weeks before I was able to walk.”
This was a team effort. Physical therapy made a special walker for Rob while occupational therapy assisted with adaptive equipment to help him with dressing and using the restroom as he had no movement in his left arm or hand.
HealthSouth Treasure Coast has a spinal cord injury program that requires specialized training by its multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and therapists. Speech therapy treated Rob for his swallowing issues and respiratory therapy managed his tracheostomy.
“What I appreciate most about HealthSouth Treasure Coast is how dedicated and committed the staff is to their patients. My wife had the comfort of knowing that I was being cared for so she could go home and rest. HealthSouth Treasure Coast is a place you can go to rebuild yourself after a catastrophic event. Everyone offered encouragement and pushed me to work hard. I was told I would have to go to a nursing home until my doctor stepped in and insisted I go to HealthSouth Treasure Coast.”
It has been a year and Rob is back to work teaching part-time. He is walking with a crutch and taking care of his own personal needs, working hard to regain his independence.