Fall Recovery Gets Patient Back to Life and Movement

By: Renown Wellness Team

December 03, 2021

Woman's feet walking up stairs

Standing at the top of the stairs to the basement Sharon Sturtevant was chatting with her grandson in the kitchen. Suddenly, Sharon stumbled and fell down the stairs. “The last thing I remember was my head hitting the floor before everything went black,” she recalls. Her grandson, Oliver, quickly called 911 and paramedics arrived on the scene, taking her by ambulance to Renown Regional Medical Center where she was diagnosed with a broken collarbone and a neck fracture that would require complex surgery involving fusion of her neck.

Fall Recovery Begins

After her surgery, Sharon was transported to the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital and her recovery process began. Sharon smiles as she describes the rehab hospital team “They are fabulous here, I learned so much about how my body moves, and the proper way to move it. At home I wouldn’t have known what to do,” she confesses. “They set me up for success to return home and not get injured again.” At Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, different therapists coordinated a custom plan to help Sharon recover from her injuries. Ultimately, the goal of her physical therapy was to help restore and improve her strength, reduce pain and increase her mobility for stamina and balance.

Physical Therapy Key to Successful Treatment of Falls

“My recovery after the operation was an eye-opener,” Sharon declares. “I had no idea how much went into regaining everyday moment.” During her rehabilitation hospital stay, she had to re-learn how to swallow, go up and down stairs, as well as successfully get in and out of a wheelchair, which involved transferring her body weight safely. Due to hormonal changes after menopause women are 50% more at risk for falls than men, according to research. Sharon now has a greater awareness of how to move her body and is significantly stronger than before entering her physical rehabilitation sessions. Not everyone knows that everyday mobility is impacted by four basic skills: stepping, trunk flexibility, upright posture and weight shifting. “I don’t know how I could have gotten this far without the wonderful therapists here,” she shares. “They are so thorough. Proper alignment was encouraged helping me to walk and stand correctly. They were all so nice and patient with me,” she states. “I actually had less pain because I didn’t hurt myself moving the wrong way.”

Falls Are Common Among Aging Adults

As we age balance becomes more important. Unfortunately falls are common among older adults with negative quality of life effects, even fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four seniors fall each year in the U.S. A comprehensive physical therapy plan for sudden falls or chronic conditions is a safe, effective alternative treatment to medication such as opioids. Today Sharon is back at home with a new banister installed on the basement stairs. As a music lover she is enjoying her musical grandchildren Oliver and Eliana who play instruments. She looks forward to attending their upcoming school concerts. Sharon remembers the staff at Renown Rehabilitation Hospital fondly, “They were unfailingly patient, supportive, informative and understanding.” Her advice to those unexpectedly finding themselves in the rehabilitation hospital is, “Listen to your therapists carefully and follow their instructions.”

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