Resident regains independence within seven weeks of fracture 

Nursing rehab graduate supported by Twin Lakes Terrace team 

Jamie Russell remembers the day that Susan Mitchell learned she could walk on her own again. Not long after delivering the good news, Russell saw Mitchell in the hallway at Twin Lakes Terrace.

“I was leaving because it was the end of the day and . . . Susan whipped by me with her walker. And she was grinning from ear to ear, she was just thrilled,” Russell says.

Mitchell’s excitement was understandable – within seven weeks of a hip fracture, she’d become independent. It was her final goal, reached with the support of the Sarnia long-term care home’s nursing rehabilitation program and physiotherapy.

“The rehab program was very beneficial to Susan because she’s able to independently do a lot of her activities of daily living,” says Russell, who is a registered practical nurse and leads Twin Lakes Terrace’s nursing rehab program.

Mitchell’s ability to complete such everyday tasks as dressing, transferring to and from positions and walking to her meals and activities means she regains her privacy and self-confidence. It also helps other residents because the time and care that staff members had given to Mitchell can now be dedicated to others.

“This is a perfect example of how beneficial (nursing rehab) is to our home,” Russell says.

Mitchell has become the first official graduate of Twin Lakes Terrace’s nursing rehab program, receiving a certificate acknowledging her efforts. The graduation program is a new initiative at all Steeves & Rozema long-term care communities, recognizing residents who reach goals that maximize their functional capabilities.

Russell developed a program for Mitchell following a fall in late May that resulted in a fractured left hip. The 66-year-old, who has a seizure disorder that can lead to falls, was recovering from the fracture slowly after returning to Twin Lakes Terrace from hospital.

Then she began walking and transfer programs daily with nursing rehab, which was complemented by physiotherapy several times a week. Within three weeks, Mitchell had progressed from walking a few steps daily to walking to and from the dining room three times a day. Mitchell also transitioned from two-person to one-person transfers.

By July 22, about seven weeks after the fracture, Mitchell was walking independently with her walker and transferring on her own.

“She’s rehabbed almost to 100 per cent to how she was before the fall,” Russell says, adding Mitchell couldn’t be happier.

Russell says Mitchell’s willingness to participate and willpower were keys to her success. So is the encouragement and involvement of Twin Lakes Terrace’s personal support workers who implement the nursing rehab care plan and track residents’ progress. Physiotherapy also complements nursing rehab, which is generally a short-term program.

As nursing rehab lead, Russell sees how the program is making a difference in residents’ quality of life.

“It’s very rewarding seeing residents progress and seeing how happy they are.”

In photo: Twin Lakes Terrace resident Susan Mitchell (centre) celebrates completing the nursing rehabilitation program with Jamie Russell and Vicky Denomme.