Shoulder surgery followed by a stroke last December were huge setbacks for Leland Hove. After spending a week in the hospital, Leland decided it would be too difficult to go straight home, not feeling fully recovered.

So instead, he spent 10 days at The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center in Short Term Rehabilitation resting, recuperating and working with the physical and occupational therapists on staff to get stronger.

“It was a great choice,” Leland said. “Everyone was interested in helping me get better.”

Because of the area in his brain where the stroke occurred, Leland struggled with balance. So, a majority of his time at The Legacy was spent working on regaining balance. In addition, since he was still recovering from his shoulder surgery, Leland focused on strength training to help avoid reinjury of his shoulder.

“I had to be really careful with my shoulders,” Leland said. “I needed to strengthen muscles. They were there to help me with different kinds of needs.”

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His daily therapy was coupled with plenty of time for rest and to enjoy the amenities of The Legacy facility as well. Being in a beautiful setting working with people who were encouraging helped keep Leland motivated to get back up to speed.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Leland said. “Everybody was in pleasant moods. I like the place. I like the people.”

Greeting residents and patients with a smile on her face is an important aspect of occupational therapist Christie Boer’s job. Being upbeat and encouraging helps keep patients motivated and from becoming depressed about the situation that’s brought them to The Legacy.

“I try to be positive and help them maintain a positive outlook,” Christie said. “It’s a lot of educating on ways to cope.”

Patients typically come to Short Term Rehab after experiencing a catastrophic event like a stroke, car accident, extended illness or extensive surgery and just need a little extra work in order to return home and be self-sufficient.

The Legacy therapy team works closely with individuals to help them get stronger and be safer as they prepare to go home. They work on some targeted exercises to help patients gain strength but they also work on smaller details that will help them function better and safely when they go home.

“Their goal is to return home as quickly, safely and independently as possible,” Christie said. “The Legacy is a really great facility with so many opportunities for people.”

Some of those opportunities include working out in the state-of-the-art gym. Specialized equipment like a gait trainer with an overhead harness enables patients to walk and move with the added security of the harness that prevents them from falling.

The Legacy’s occupational suite is equipped with a replica of a home to help patients practice their day-to-day tasks like washing dishes, switching laundry and cooking. The mock apartment helps them practice for independent living again.

“It’s really very helpful to work on retaining of functional tasks in order for people to go home,” Christie said.

And before patients get the all clear to return home, therapists visit the patient’s home to check on safety. They often identify tripping hazards or areas where safety handrails could be installed.

“We take the residents to their house to see how they do functionally in their home,” Christie said.

Before his stay at The Legacy was complete, a therapist went to Leland’s house. The staff identified some rugs that could be tripping hazards and areas where handrails could add additional support and help prevent potential falls.

Now that he’s home and back to work as owner of Chemical Consultation, Inc., Leland is still working to get stronger, using the exercises recommended by the therapists at The Legacy.

“I get a little bit better every day,” Leland said.

Learn more about the services offered at Short Term Rehabilitation in The Legacy at www.cchwyo.org/str.

By: Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer for CCH

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