Joseph's story

Joseph Edwards stands with his therapist.

Recently retired from school administration, Joseph Edwards was enjoying a more relaxed pace of life. He was also focused on his health as he underwent chemotherapy for rectal cancer. Things were going well until he experienced difficulty urinating.

A trip to the emergency department revealed his kidney was inflamed. After five days of acute care, the inflammation was resolved and he was left with weakened leg muscles for which the hospital recommended inpatient rehabilitation. He chose Riverside Rehabilitation Hospital for his recovery. His goal: “I wanted to be independent again.”

Upon admission, Joseph’s physician-led team assessed him and drafted a care plan. In his weakened state, he required assistance to transfer positions, walk and take care of his personal needs, independently.  Upon meeting with his team, Joseph immediately knew he had chosen the right place. “I came here and I was just elated, it was better than I thought it was going to be. Everything is clean and everyone is nice and wants the best for the patients.”

To get him safely back on his feet, Joseph’s physical therapists focused on fall prevention, balance and gait training to help steady his walk. They challenged him with leg exercises in the parallel bars, building both muscle and standing endurance while providing necessary support.

The therapy team also worked on functional tasks such as getting in and out of both the bed and car and stair climbing. These activities helped strengthened Joseph’s endurance, balance, safety awareness and independence. In just a few days, he gained leg strength and confidence, progressing to walking with the support of a walker.

Meantime, Joseph worked with occupational therapy to build upper body strength and coordination with free weight exercises and sorting and reaching activities which helped his flexibility and eye-hand coordination. His improved arm strength and control allowed him to more easily complete daily living activities such as getting on and off the toilet, brushing his hair and teeth, bathing and dressing. 
In just a week and a half, Joseph was confidently walking over 500 feet with a walker, able to manage stairs, and bathing and dressing himself. His family participated in the Care Partner Program to ensure they were also ready to help him at home, where he plans to continue building strength with home health services.

“My wife has to work, and I feel confident going home and taking care of myself. She doesn’t have to worry about me now,” Joseph said, reinforcing the benefits of both his therapy and the family training they received at Riverside Rehabilitation Hospital.

Joseph’s parting words summarized his experience: “All the people here – the doctors, therapists, nurses – they know what to do and they show a lot of care, which encourages anyone to do the best they can.”