The road to recovery after a stroke can be a long one. No one knows this
better than Terry Pullen, who suffered a stroke in January and has been
working through various forms of rehabilitation since.
But thanks to the comprehensive rehabilitative services offered by MCMC,
patients like Pullen are able to benefit from a continuum of care to help
speed their recovery. Beginning his journey in the MCMC emergency department
set the Dufur resident down a path of care specifically designed so his
entire rehabilitation process would be interconnected and his care team
working together to ensure his recovery went as smoothly as possible.
Pullen was working as a driver for FedEx Ground when he started experiencing
an unusual feeling in his left leg and arm. Aware he was experiencing
stroke symptoms, Pullen recalls being able to drive himself to the MCMC
Once he arrived, though, “I couldn’t get out of the truck,”
he says. “So I started honking the horn. ER doctors and nurses came
out and got me out of the truck and into a wheelchair and got me inside.”
After being stabilized at MCMC, Pullen spent a week at Oregon Health &
Science University before returning to MCMC to start an intensive inpatient
rehabilitation program at mPower.
At mPower patients recovering from strokes and other illnesses or traumatic
injuries, participate in intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy
three hours a day. The six-bed unit is staffed with a team of rehabilitation
specialists and offers 24-hour medical supervision.
While at mPower, Pullen participated in all three forms of therapy, due
to speech and cognition impairment and left-sided weakness. He was able
to leave mPower after a month, but wasn’t ready to start outpatient
therapy yet. So MCMC’s Visiting Health Services team stepped in
to assist with the transition of care, in what the program’s co-director
Marcia Medler calls a “bridge” between intensive inpatient
care and outpatient therapy.
“It’s not the best to go from being cared for in an institution
straight to outpatient care,” Medler says. “Visiting Health
provides a range of care and services during that intermediary phase.”
Through Visiting Health, Pullen was able to continue rehabilitation therapy
from his own home. Rehabilitation therapists can outfit a patient’s
home with the medical equipment they will need for recovery as well as
assess components of the home that may be impeding the recovery process,
such as uneven steps.
Physical therapists visit patients’ homes and are able to conduct
the same therapy they would conduct in a hospital setting. Often, patients
are already acquainted with the physical therapist when Visiting Health
“Some of the outpatient therapists work for Visiting Health and vice
versa, and some of our therapists work part-time at the hospital, so it’s
really nice we get to know the patient on all different levels,”
Medler says. “That’s one of the things that makes patients’
transition so smooth.”
Once the Visiting Health team determined Pullen was ready, his rehabilitation
continued in MCMC’s Outpatient Therapy program at Water’s
Edge, which he continues to visit regularly.
The recovery process has been fairly smooth, according to Pullen, who is
about six months ahead in a recovery process that typically takes two
years. Since his time at mPower, Pullen has been surrounded by familiar
faces. Staff from both mPower and Visiting Health have been working with
Pullen on his continued recovery. He believes the process works well,
and enjoys the familiarity of it. “I was used to working with them
at the hospital, then I moved down with the same people at Water’s
Edge,” he says warmly.
Autumn Moretty Randall, R.N., director of mPower, believes that familiarity
helps in the recovery process. “When the therapist has seen somebody
as an inpatient, they get to know them and the family, and vice versa.
That familiarity and consistency of care definitely help.”