Left to right: Michelle Watson, director of rehab; David Conklin and Debra Paxson, physical therapist assistant


Therapists at Life Care Center of LaGrange, Indiana, recently helped David Conklin return home after an exacerbation of his congestive heart failure left him immobile.


“The doctors at Borgess [Medical Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan] said I needed physical therapy before I came home,” Conklin explained. “The first place my wife and I thought of was Life Care in LaGrange. I had physical therapy there in 2015, and I knew the girls would get me on my feet again.”


Conklin couldn’t walk at all when he arrived on Jan. 12, 2017. He couldn’t transfer from one surface to another, and he had a very hard time balancing when standing or even sitting. Because of his difficulty moving, he also had trouble with his daily self-care tasks.


Physical therapists worked with Conklin five days a week on restoring his mobility, building his strength and increasing his range of motion, while occupational therapists worked with him seven days a week to re-master his daily functional tasks. He used the Omnicycle exercise bicycle, a weighted pulley system, gait and balance training and adaptive equipment to achieve his goals rapidly.


Therapists also taught Conklin energy conservation to help with his CHF.


“David worked extremely hard with our therapists to regain his strength and independence,” said Michelle Watson, director of rehab. “He was able to go from the use of a mechanical lift for transfers at admission to independent transfers in less than a month.”


“Michelle and Deb [Paxson, physical therapist assistant] have me walking again so I can go home to my normal, daily activities we all want to do,” said Conklin. “They understand my personality and how to motivate me. The entire staff does its very best to make you feel welcome and at home – it really is a place you can come back to and get the outcome you pray for.”


Conklin returned home on Feb. 16, independent in his activities of daily living and able to transfer and balance safely on his own. He only needed supervision for walking.