Moving Matters

Stroke patient regains function, mobility through certified program.

Roger* has always been a man on the move. He attended college in New Mexico and then for a while worked in California, but he spent most of his working years in New York City as a heavy-construction laborer and form-fitter. Now retired and residing in Florida, he was completely sidelined after suffering a serious stroke in March.

“I went to sleep at night, and when I woke up, I couldn’t walk or use my left arm,” Roger remembers. “I went immediately to the hospital. Because I was asleep when it happened, the doctors couldn’t pinpoint the exact time I had my stroke, so they couldn’t give me the usual treatment. That has to be dispensed within three hours of the stroke. So instead, they checked me out, sent me for a CT scan and admitted me to the hospital. I stayed there for three days, then transferred out for rehab.”

For his rehabilitation, Roger chose to go to Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Treasure Coast in Vero Beach, which offers a certified stroke rehabilitation program. He was guided throughout his stay by Jennifer Novarro, LPN, a neurological and stroke navigator.

“My role is to reach out to patients and family members, as well as our community partners and physicians, and educate them on how Encompass Heath can return patients to their prior level of function,” Jennifer says.

When a stroke patient arrives, Jennifer is initially consulted by the neurologist or neurointerventionalist group, explains Dawn Bucaj, RN, BSN, a senior rehabilitation liaison at Encompass Health.

“Jennifer speaks with families and patients to attain a medical history and patient preferences, as well as identify what the patient’s prior life was like. This way, goals can be created with the best chance of getting the patient back to normal life after a stroke. She makes sure the patients get everything they need to reach their highest level of ability and return home,” Dawn says.

Because Encompass Health is a hospital, it can provide a higher level of care through its certified stroke program than what is available at nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. The program includes intensive, multidisciplinary treatments.

“We provide an elevated level of specialized care for stroke patients, leading with expertise and inspiring confidence for superior outcomes,” Jennifer elaborates. “The specialized care we provide includes advanced technologies, at least three hours of therapy a day five days a week, certified rehab registering care available 24/7, daily physician visits, personalized rehab programs targeting each patient’s specific needs, a team approach to achieving goals and weekly team meetings to discuss progress and goals.”

Encompass Health is committed to setting the standard in stroke rehabilitation, Dawn declares.

“But to access our programs,” she adds, “patients and families must ask for us by name.”

Roger spent a month at Encompass Health before he was discharged.

“When I first got there, I was barely able to stand up and was essentially wheelchair-bound,” Roger describes. “I worked closely with the physical and occupational therapists, who gave me encouragement and the tools I needed to get better. They showed me how to use the hospital’s equipment and made sure I used it.

“Once I was at Encompass Health about a week, the physical therapist got me started using a walker, and I slowly got better with it. Today, I get around with a cane, which is a big improvement over where I began. And the occupational therapist showed me helpful exercises, so now I can move my arm around and move my fingers.

“The staff at Encompass Health is excellent and very helpful. I received a lot of individualized care. I had a very good experience at Encompass Health. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs rehabilitation.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.
Print This Article