Retired Centre County resident Donald Miller recently had a stroke and suffered from left side paralysis, which affected his left arm and leg, the left side of his face, and his speech. Don was treated at Mount Nittany Medical Center until he was ready for rehabilitation.
He was given a choice of a skilled nursing facility, or HealthSouth, and Don knew where he wanted to go. “My wife and I chose HealthSouth because I wanted to recover as fast as possible and get back home,” he recalls. Don knew this was possible at HealthSouth because his brother and his brother-in-law were former HealthSouth rehabilitation patients. “With two HealthSouth success stories in my family, I knew that I wanted that higher level of care,” he says.
Don came to HealthSouth with a goal: get back to doing the activities that he loved most. Driving was a priority again, too. Don’s wife Kitty describes her husband. “Don is very active and independent. He loves working around the house and yard; not much will slow him down!”
Don stayed at HealthSouth Nittany Valley hospital for sixteen days as an inpatient. “With three hours of therapy a day, I was able to improve quickly,” Don recalls. “That was the goal – to get better and get back home.” Three hours of daily therapy included speech, physical and occupational therapy. “They stay right with you in therapy,” Don says. “Everyone was friendly and helpful, and the nursing staff was outstanding.”
While a top-notch team of rehabilitation experts can help a patient make great strides, HealthSouth also acknowledges the importance of a good support system for patients. Case Manager Michelle Heverly was inspired by Don and his family. “Don’s story of rehabilitation is a ray of hope for our patients and families. Successful rehabilitation needs patience, dedication and the willingness to work hard. Don had all of those qualities,” Michelle says. Don also had a strong support system. Michelle recalls how Don’s wife, Kitty, was dedicated to Don’s recovery. “She was here at the hospital every day, to encourage him and participate in his therapy sessions. That kind of support makes rehabilitation even better.”
“I would recommend HealthSouth to anyone,” Don says. “I had one shot at rehabilitation. At HealthSouth, that’s what they do, and the higher level of care, including more therapy, allows you to make the most of your time.”
Don is enjoying “normal life at home again,” and back to doing the activities that he loves. He comes to HealthSouth Outpatient Therapy three days a week, and continues to see improvements.
HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital has a highly specialized stroke rehabilitation program that is certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations. Monthly support group meetings for stroke survivors and their families are held at HealthSouth Nittany Valley and are open to the public. For more information, or a tour, call (814) 359-3421.