Forty-seven-year-old Richard Montenegro’s life changed in the blink of an eye.
A brain hemorrhage felled him as he was leaving work, and put him in a coma for two days.
It left Richard in a wheelchair and unable to walk, speak or use his right arm.
Thanks to Richard's hard work and EvergreenHealth Rehabilitation Services, he’s making tremendous improvements.
Rehabilitation services specialize in helping patients affected by disability pursue healthy and fulfilling lives.
“It’s a process to help folks get back their quality of life,” notes Ann Zylstra, who is lead physical therapist and supervisor of EvergreenHealth’s outpatient rehabilitation services. “We are continually modifying that process to meet the patient’s goals and medical needs. It’s a really nice continuum of care.”
Montenegro began his rehabilitation in EvergreenHealth Medical Center's Acute Rehabilitation Unit (ARU), an inpatient unit which offers the most intense level of therapy.
For nearly a month, he received a minimum of three hours of intensive therapy every day. It was a combination of physical, occupational and speech therapy customized for Richard's specific challenges – with the goal of releasing him to home and outpatient therapy.
“The rehab specialists in the ARU worked with me on exercising my leg, standing up, moving my arm and taking a shower,” Richard recalls. “I also worked on talking and answering questions. I needed help to do everything.”
From the ARU, Richard was able to easily transition to EvergreenHealth’s outpatient rehabilitation services.
Rehab Services location, which covers the entire second floor of the DeYoung Pavilion, offers the best state-of-the-art equipment to make rehabilitation a high-tech as well as a high-touch experience.
“When he first came to us, Richard was very inconsistent with even yes/no answers, he was wheelchair-bound and needed assistance to get out of the wheelchair, and he couldn’t stand without support,” Zylstra says. “He’s made tremendous functional gains in therapy.”
Richard agrees. “I can lift my arm with my shoulder, I can move my leg more, I can walk with a cane, I can understand most things, and I can talk more,” he shares. “Plus, at the DeYoung Pavilion I have more equipment to use, it’s more comfortable, and I have more space to practice walking around.”
Richard Montenegro is still involved in physical, speech and occupational therapy at EvergreenHealth, and it’s making him hopeful for the future.
“I want to go back to work, to use a computer, to drive a car and to talk normally,” he says. “Those are big goals, and I’m working hard with the therapists to meet them.”
Ann Zylstra says he has excellent potential, and his speech therapist believes that over time, he’ll make a full recovery with his speech.
Down the road, occupational therapists will work with Richard on his driving, and vocational counselors will help him eventually transition back into the workforce.
Zylstra credits Richard's hard work, and the leading edge treatment that EvergreenHealth provides stroke patients. “From our nationally certified Primary Stroke Center through our many levels of rehabilitation services, we offer a great continuum of care for stroke patients.”
For more information on EvergreenHealth Rehabilitation Services, call us at 425.899.1960.