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Mr. Sysengchanh, age 47, was employed full-time as a warranty manager when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia in December 2020. He required prolonged intubation and ventilation, and then sustained multiple strokes, respiratory failure, and loss of oxygen to his brain.

When he was finally stable enough to enter an acute rehabilitation center, nearly two months after diagnoses, he received different therapies to improve his functionality so he could return home. He was primarily using a wheelchair and presented with kidney failure, among other diagnoses, including difficulty walking and inability to complete his daily tasks, such as dressing and bathing.

Mr. Sysengchanh started comprehensive home and community rehabilitation with Rehab Without Walls in February 2021. His interdisciplinary team consisted of physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapies, neuropsychology, and clinical coordination. The team worked with him on improving his thinking, swallowing, and voice skills, even addressing his anxiety surrounding his situation. He learned to use different strategies, including phone apps, to increase his awareness, and even how to manage his fatigue level, along with how to track his blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugars.

Over the course of his rehabilitation, the team worked with him on improving his balance, strength, and mobility using a walker. They began to improve his pacing while doing his activities of daily living and participating in simple cooking tasks. With enough hard work, he began to build his physical and cognitive endurance by participating in trips into the community, such as going to the hardware store, putting green and the grocery store. Eventually Mr. Sysengchanh advanced to walking without an aide throughout his home.

As his thinking skills improved, he participated in highly complex tasks such as creating Excel templates addressing both his impaired typing skills and problem solving. Towards the end of his rehabilitation, Mr. Sysengchanh’s endurance and strength improved to the point that was able to take a flight with his spouse to visit a friend out of town.

Watch Mr. Sysenchanh share his recovery story:

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