Linda's story

Linda Rohrer stands outside following her successful rehabilitation.

Always busy, Linda Rohrer was rushing through house chores when she slipped and fell on her hip. In pain and unable to move, the 74-year-old stayed put until her husband arrived and called 911. EMTs rushed Linda to the nearest hospital. There, physicians diagnosed her with a fractured hip and shortly thereafter performed surgery to replace the ball portion of her hip joint. With a successful surgery behind her, Linda was ready for rehabilitation and selected Riverside Rehabilitation Hospital to continue her recovery.

At Riverside, the physician-led care team developed a plan to return Linda to her active lifestyle. Linda exudes determination and embraces hard work, after all, the retiree built and operated her own government contracting business that employed 300 people. She was ready to commit to her rehabilitation plan and regain her independence.

Physical therapy (PT) got to work improving Linda’s endurance, balance, safety awareness and independence. While she was able to get in and out of bed and walk, she still required assistance to ensure she didn’t fall. Therapists challenged Linda to walk on various surfaces, change directions and navigate cones that they set up as distractions. Therapists helped support and guide Linda during treatment with the help of a gait belt secured around her waist. She tackled her therapy activities daily which both improved her endurance and balance and built her confidence. Adding an everyday element to her sessions, therapists also had Linda practice getting in and out of the mock car in the therapy gym.

Occupational therapy increased Linda’s strength and coordination for those activities she would encounter in everyday living -- getting on and off the toilet, brushing her hair and teeth, bathing and dressing. She regularly lifted weights and did resistance training with therapy bands which helped build her upper body strength. Woven into those therapy sessions were sorting exercises she did while standing which improved Linda’s balance and upper body coordination.

Family and friends helped play a key role in her recovery. Her family participated in the hospital’s Care Partner Program to prepare for her return home – learning helpful tips such as removing rugs and moving furniture to avoid tripping hazards and ensuring she was aware of community resources. Linda’s family and friends also provided uplifting support throughout her recovery. They brought their holiday tradition of celebrating “Friendsmas” to the hospital. Working with hospital staff, Linda’s family invited staff and her grandchildren’s friends in for pizza in the dining area to celebrate a mini “Friendsmas.”  But instead of heading straight to the pizza, “they all skipped right by the food, and one by one hugged me and encouraged me,” said Linda. “It was the sweetest moment.”

In just over a week’s time, Linda was walking independently with a cane and able to dress, groom and bathe independently. She was ready to go home, and plans to continue building strength through home health services.

Grateful for a positive experience, Linda shared her appreciation of her fellow patients and her care team: “I would have never wanted to break my hip, however, look at the silver lining. I made friends with patients and the staff… I hugged everyone before I left.”