It was a feeling that 69-year-old Kimberly O’Dea of Stephenville, Texas, won’t soon forget.
While going about her normal day during the last Saturday of March, O’Dea felt the entire right side of her body became weak. She couldn’t move her arm and leg, the right side of her face was drooping, and she couldn’t speak coherently. She had suffered a stroke.
O’Dea was transported via Care Flight to a hospital in Fort Worth where she received initial treatment. After a week, she was referred to Weatherford Rehabilitation Hospital for continued care. Weatherford Rehabilitation Hospital offers specialized rehabilitative care for patients living with or recovering from debilitating injuries or illnesses, like strokes, brain injuries, hip fractures, spinal injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other debilitating events.
“At that point, I really wasn’t sure what I could expect as far as recovering,” O’Dea says. “I still wasn’t able to move my right arm or leg. It was hard to stand, and I couldn’t speak well. I had trouble finding the words I wanted to say. I needed help doing even the most basic of activities.”
After being admitted to Weatherford Rehabilitation Hospital, O’Dea met with members from the hospital’s multi-disciplinary team to discuss her recovery goals. Based upon what she wanted to achieve, the team created a customized care plan with her that was designed to help her gain back as much independence as possible. Treatments included intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
“Inpatient rehabilitation can make a difference in outcomes for a patient who has experienced a stroke like Kimberly,” says Mallory Smith, Director of Rehabilitation at Weatherford Rehabilitation Hospital. “Patients treated at inpatient rehabilitation hospitals receive at least 15 hours of therapy weekly, typically three hours a day for five days a week. The level of care provided at inpatient rehabilitation hospitals have been shown in national studies to allow patients to return home sooner and stay home longer.”
After three weeks of rehabilitative care at the hospital, O’Dea returned home at the end of April. When she was discharged, she could walk half the distance of a football field with little assistance and perform almost all basic daily activities, such a dressing, bathing, and cooking, with no assistance at all.
While she’s thrilled with the results, she says she’s most proud of the progress she made in speech therapy. “I’m able to communicate and carry on a conversation again,” she says. “Everyone at the hospital was pulling for me, and it worked!”