Jeff admitted to Rehab Without Walls, Utah in March 2019 just before he turned 52. He sustained a workplace injury resulting in an incomplete Spinal Cord Injury at C5 (the fifth cervical spinal nerve) and became tetraplegic (paralysis affecting all four limbs). Jeff transitioned from a skilled nursing facility to RWW’s Home and Community program. His medical team, including the head SCI doctor at the trauma hospital, felt he would likely need to live in the SNF for the rest of his life due to the extent of his injuries, physical dependence, and limited family support. At this time, he had only little movement in one of his fingers.
His paradigm case manager at the time advocated for RWW to start working with him while in the SNF to address readiness for community re-entry in hopes of improving his independence and quality of life, but with higher hopes of him living independently. At first, Jeff was very cautious and timid as new things were hard and scary. Prior to his injury, he had never owned a cell phone or any high-tech equipment. He and his occupational therapist worked hard together and little by little Jeff gained the independence and confidence to manage his complex medical condition.
Jeff moved into an independent apartment in August 2019, and started working with the full RWW team including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, recreational therapy, licensed clinical social work, and clinical coordination. Our team helped to hang the TV and several essential tech devices in Jeff’s new apartment. When he moved, even though Jeff still needed 24-hour personal care assistance (PCA) and was dependent for most physical tasks, he was able to navigate his power chair and direct his care for his activities of daily living (ADL).
Jeff and his team of rehab specialists thought differently though and set forth a path towards recovery. They worked hard to achieve incremental milestones over the course of four years! He is now functionally independent, living in an independent apartment with personal care assistance for a few hours in the morning and evening. He is modified independent-occasional minimal assistance to manage his bowel care, independent with bladder care, and completes all his other ADLs with modified independence. He walks in his apartment and throughout the facility with only the use of a walker and goes to church every Sunday without help. Jeff manages his own medication, diabetes, and blood pressure. He oversees his own medical appointments and scheduling. He rides the bus independently and has started coming to the survivor support group hosted by RWW. He has tried skiing, sailing, kayaking, and cycling. At our discharge meeting he was proud to say he exercises at least seven hours a week, usually with walking and cycling and is excited to keep these activities going after he discharges.
Executive Director Trina D. Terrion, MS CCC-SLP, who so incredibly proud of Jeff, shares, “I sat in my car following Jeff’s discharge visit this week feeling inspired and honored to have worked with him for so long and in the creative, out of the box way that only RWW can do (transformative care!). I also thought about the impact he had on our program and our team. As Jeff’s physical therapist so perfectly said, ‘It is truly amazing what was able to be accomplished and reminds us why we love what we do!'”
“Our work with Jeff helped solidify relationships with the SCI program at the University of Utah, adaptive sports programs throughout the state, and the neuro outpatient center where he concurrently received treatment during our care. Jeff was our launchpad to become a CARF Spinal Cord Injury Specialty Program, which we successfully achieved in 2022. The occupational therapist who first worked with Jeff won BrightSpring’s Health clinician of the year in 2020 for her work with him and reports it being the pinnacle of her career. We hired a recreational therapist, in part to work specifically with Jeff, and now Recreational Therapy is a key part of our program, and the same clinician is working for us full time as a CC/RT.”
“As we close out the year, I am excited to celebrate all that our patients have accomplished, as well that our teams have done to grow, evolve and do the best work of our lives for our community (connectivity at work!). To not only help people like Jeff live his best life, but to help us live our best lives as well.”
Pictured is Jeff during his last treatment session out walking to look at Christmas lights with his PT Spencer (left) and RT Pam (right).