Success Stories

Linda

To say no one anticipated what 2020 had in store would be an understatement. This is especially true of COVID-19 and its many repercussions.

Linda is no exception.

Linda was in need of a hip replacement that was delayed due to the concerns surrounding COVID-19. After a gradual decline in her mobility and cognition, her husband, Pat, took her to the hospital.

Doctors diagnosed Linda with a severe infection that started in her hip and spread to most of her spine. This started a long and lengthy recovery before Linda could have her hip replacement. After more than nine surgeries, several weeks of IV antibiotics, and over five weeks on life support, she finally began to improve. Linda finally got her hip replacement.

After the procedure, Linda knew therapy would be a challenge. Not only had she been bedridden for weeks, but the surgeons needed to remove a great deal of muscle and bone tissue due to the infection. When Linda arrived at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital she began to eat, breathe, and start the process of walking again.

Pat advises from their experience that patients and their families should “listen to their gut”. He also believes that it is incredibly important to surround yourself with a support system and share your story with them. When going through challenging times, it is so important to rely on those around you for support.

Pat’s “take away” was that the medical staff are amazing. He credits their attitude and care as what helped them find the root of the problem.

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Samuel Wier

Though he still has a long recovery ahead, Samuel is thrilled with the progress he’s made at NCLTAH.

Samuel Wier, 54, is a family man. For the last twelve years, he’s worked full-time at Vestas Blades Americas as a maintenance technician. His free time is spent with his wife and three daughters, going to movies and garden centers.

In the fall, Samuel began feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. Since then, he has been hospitalized, either at a short-term acute care hospital or at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Samuel was diagnosed with MSSA pneumonia, osteomyelitis, and acute hypoxemic respiratory failure. During this time, he underwent multiple surgeries to treat his complex diagnoses.

Samuel chose Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital to help him recover because he heard the success rate of patients was great. Another important factor was the hospital is close to home, as his wife didn’t want to drive far.

Though he still has a long recovery ahead, Samuel is thrilled with the progress he’s made at NCLTAH. He heralds a “fantastic teamwork environment” at the hospital that enabled his recovery. “It took the entire team to get me to where I am now!” he stated. “Dr. Masotti and Dr. Pearson have been so good to me. They have such great attitudes and have made my experience positive!”

Samuel is most excited to get back home to his family and dogs. His long-term goal is to return to work. But for now, Samuel is extremely ready to be home because he’s been away for nine months!

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Steven Schrader

Facing sepsis, congestive heart failure, and respiratory failure, Steven Schrader chose NCLTAH for his recovery for their expertise in treating medically-complex patients.

Though he’s been on disability for a few years, Steven Schrader does his best to remain active. Steven, 49, lives in Loveland with his spouse and two stepsons. He enjoys spending time with them, as well as fishing, three-wheeling, walking, and hiking.

One day, Steven began experiencing shortness of breath. He admitted to an acute care hospital where doctors diagnosed him with the following:

  • Sepsis, due to pneumonia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • ANCA-associated vasculitis
  • Chronic respiratory failure

Steven’s complex diagnosis led to placement on a ventilator and a tracheostomy. In need of a high level of care for an extended period of time, his primary care physicians recommend Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Long-term acute care hospitals like NCLTAH are experts in treating medically-complex patients like Steven.

“Everyone has been great, helpful, and kind,” Steven said of his experience at NCLTAH. “The therapists have been great at getting me mobile so I can discharge home. The nurses are awesome and always help me with everything I need. And the food has been good.”

Driven by his desire to return home to his wife and three dogs, Steven remained focused on his discharge day. “There is no place like home!” he added.

 

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Marjorie Gilbert

Majorie Gilbert credits her recovery to prayer, family support, and the healing environment at NCLTAH.

75-year-old Marjorie Gilbert spends her days caring for others in Arvada, CO. Four days a week, she works as a senior caregiver with Home Instead Senior Care. On a fifth day, she works as a nanny for a little girl. The rest of her time is filled with things she loves. Marjorie is a member of the Red Hat Society, attends a weekly bible study, makes greeting cards, knits, plays the keyboard and piano, and bakes. Her three grown children and her grandchildren live nearby, and Marjorie loves spending time with them

Those are the things that have kept Marjorie going after her car accident.

Marjorie was involved in a single-vehicle accident. Her car swerved off the road and into a ditch. Marjorie suffered serious injuries as a result of the crash, including a spontaneous intraparenchymal brain hemorrhage, subdural hematoma, and acute hypoxic respiratory failure.

It became clear during Marjorie’s initial hospitalization that she would need high-level medical care for an extended period of time. Her family began researching long-term acute care hospitals. That led them to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. They chose NCLTAH because of patient testimonials, the availability of pool therapy, and a low nurse-to-patient ratio.

Eleven days after the accident, Marjorie admitted to NCLTAH and made great progress in her recovery. “Marjorie took such good care of herself prior to the accident, and stayed active, so she had reserve when this happened,” said Dr. Pearson, medical director at NCLTAH. “That is why she is recovering so well!”

Marjorie also credits her recovery to a lot of prayer and the involvement of family and friends, as well as the healing environment at NCLTAH.

“All the caregivers are so happy and always laughing,” Marjorie said with a smile. “Everyone is so positive! The PCTs and RNs are top notch and I wish I could take all of them home with me. They check on me all the time and meet all my needs!”

“Success is setting a goal and getting beyond that goal,” Marjorie stated, adding that she feels she succeeded at NCLTAH.

Upon completion of her stay, Marjorie discharged to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. The goal is to regain strength before going home. Marjorie can’t wait to get home and back to her normal life. Excited to see her family and friends again, Marjorie can’t wait to go on a picnic with them!

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Gary Wells

Gary Wells required a specialty hospital to care for his complex wounds and respiratory needs.

Gary Wells and his girlfriend of eight years love their quiet, small-town life in Platteville, CO. Gary enjoyed spending his time with the Ford V8 club and with his two dogs. Gary, 56, has been disabled for years as a result of multiple injuries from his past as a football player and construction worker.

One day, an infection brought Gary to the local acute care hospital. Doctors diagnosed him with Fournier’s gangrene, a particularly life-threatening form of necrotizing fasciitis. Gary underwent multiple surgeries, leaving him with complex wound care needs. He also became severely debilitated, contracted sepsis, and suffered both acute and chronic respiratory failure.

Facing a long and difficult recovery, Gary needed to transfer to a new hospital. He required a hospital that could provide proper wound care while managing his complex medical needs. His girlfriend toured multiple facilities in search of the right one. Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital impressed her. Gary affirmed her choice. He appreciated that the clinical liaisons checked on him daily.

Gary transferred to NCLTAH and began to make great progress. The staff made an immediate and lasting impression on him. “All the nurses are great and care so much about the patients here,” Gary reflected. “They have always been here for me, on my good days, and also my harder days. The wound care RN, Nikki, helps any way she can. She is very competent with wound care. Dr. Pearson and Dr. Masotti always have positive attitudes and are straight forward.”

A strong support system also played an important role. Friends and family provided the ultimate motivation for Gary’s recovery. His first goal is to return home with his girlfriend and their dogs. Then, Gary has his sights set on regaining enough strength to be independent once again.

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Dan James

“A healthy and active lifestyle, faith, and a team effort is the path to recovery.”

After a staph infection turned into sepsis, Dan required high-level medical care, bringing him to NCLTAH.

On a Wednesday, Dan James, 38, had constipation. By Friday morning, Dan collapsed. He was transported to an emergency department and admitted to the hospital with sepsis.

Sepsis is an infection in the blood that affects millions of people worldwide each year. It can cause organs to shut down, blood clots, low blood pressure, and death.

Doctors found that Dan had a staph infection in 11 of his 12 major joints that led to sepsis. Dan and his doctors are still unclear on how he acquired this infection. However, staph is everywhere.

Treatment included antibiotics, multiple surgeries, countless tests, and several medications. Dan’s kidneys stopped working properly and he required dialysis. He was bedridden for three weeks in the hospital. He then transferred to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital, requiring high-level medical care. “I cannot take care of myself,” thought Dan.

Dan’s father, Rick, and mother, Ada, were there every step of the way, constantly supporting and encouraging him. “You HAVE to go through this,” Rick told him. “We will go through this one step at a time.”

Dan attributes his recovery to the care of the hospital staff and his outstanding support system of family and friends. He also expressed gratitude for every improvement, every gain. Dan’s appreciative attitude aided him in exceeding each goal he was given. While his therapy was “really hard,” Dan trusted and built a strong relationship with his therapists. He knew how to find the balance to work through the pain while being safe.

Three weeks later, despite great progress, it wasn’t yet safe for Dan to return home. Dan transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital where he participated in an aggressive physical and occupational therapy regimen. Now able to care for himself, Dan has returned home. There, he continues to do therapy on his journey to make a full recovery. Dan’s key focus is continuing to work on his stamina. Both Dan and his medical team expect him to make a full recovery.

Dan attributed his recovery to owning his therapy and the “team effort” of his family and friends.

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Gary Sampson

Gary’s advice to anyone facing rehabilitation? “Get up and get moving. It’s the only way to get better!”

Gary Sampson, 70, considers himself a “professional volunteer.” Retired from multiple careers as a police officer, part of the National Red Cross, and a Victim Witness Director at the District Attorney’s office, Gary now spends his time giving back. He is active as part of the Loveland Fair Board and serves as Zone Chair of the Lions Club (and a past president). He is the Leading Knight for the Elks Lodge and drives for the Senior Alternatives in Transportation program.

When Gary isn’t giving of his time to the community, he’s spending it with his family. Gary and his wife, Sherlyn have two children and five grandchildren. They also have two dogs and a bird. Gary takes pride in taking care of his home and his yard. So when Gary suffered a stroke, his whole world turned upside-down.

It began with a headache that lasted all day. Gary also found himself struggling with word finding. When he arrived at the acute care hospital, doctors diagnosed Gary with a pontine hemorrhagic stroke. As a result of the stroke, Gary suffered left hemiparesis (weakness on the left side of the body) and acute respiratory failure. Due to respiratory failure, Gary required the support of a ventilator to breathe.

Sheryln chose Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital for the next stage of Gary’s recovery upon the recommendation of his ICU doctor. Sheryln and Gary are glad they chose NCLTAH.

“Dr. Pearson was great with answering questions and was very personable,” Gary recalled. “The respiratory therapists were always checking on me and making sure I was comfortable. The registered nurses were always friendly and helpful, and the PCTs were always so helpful and positive.”

Weaned from the ventilator, Gary transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. He chose NCRH because of their competency in the care of stroke patients. It was also an easy transition, as the two hospitals share a building.

Upon completion of his rehabilitation stay, Gary discharged home with Sherlyn. He looks forward to resuming his volunteer activities and enjoying his family. Gary’s advice to anyone going through a similar situation is to “get up and get moving. It’s the only way to get better!”

Gary’s next goal? Running a quarter mile!

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Jeanette Fraser

Jeanette Fraser’s goal was to return home for her granddaughter’s first birthday.

Jeanette Fraser is a 55-year-old occupational health nurse. She enjoys working out and lifting weights, photography, and hiking. Most of all, Jeanette enjoys spending time with her family. She seemed to be a perfectly healthy individual.

One day at her job, Jeanette began throwing up and experienced radiating chest pain. She went to the hospital where procedures revealed a duodenal diverticulum. Major complications from the procedure ensued, including a bile/pancreatic duct injury, pancreatic fistula, and multiple intra-abdominal and abdominal wall abscesses.

Facing a challenging road to recovery, Jeanette came to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital (NCLTAH). She chose NCLTAH because it was close to her home and her family could visit often.

Jeanette’s goal was to get home for her granddaughter’s first birthday. This was one of the main motivators for Jeanette during her recovery. The other motivation arrived from Australia. Jeanette’s daughter and two grandkids came from Australia and visited her daily.

While at NCLTAH, much of the staff made an impact on Jeanette. “The doctors were great at collaborating with my surgeon and neurologist,” she recalled. “The nursing staff was responsive. The case manager was awesome, making my experience flawless with appointments and discharge planning. The therapists helped me gain my strength and balance back so I could return home. They even let me choose my therapy activities, which made the experience better.”

Jeanette is excited to get back to her prior life — going out to dinner with her husband, getting back to work and driving. But most of all, it means spending time with her precious family. Proudly, Jeanette met her goal of returning home in time for her granddaughter’s first birthday!

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Francesca Van Sant

Complications from a noninvasive procedure led to an extended hospitalization for Francesca Van Sant.

Francesca Van Sant, 21, grew up in Ramstein-Miesnbach, Germany. She attended all German schools and had a passion for studying abroad. That brought her to the University of Colorado Boulder. At CU, Francesca majored in French, Chinese, and Geology. She was very active with a competitive rowing team at the school. Francesca also has a passion for hiking, camping, art, concerts, and attending hockey games.

After undergoing a noninvasive mitral valve repair, Francesca experienced complications. She suffered an anoxic brain injury, causing a prolonged hospitalization. Acute hypoxemic respiratory failure led to Francesca being placed on a ventilator and requiring a tracheostomy. Initially, Francesca was unresponsive.

Francesca’s parents, Jake and Lori Van Sant, came to be with her from Germany. They have been an active part of her healing process. At the recommendation of Francesca’s pulmonologist at Boulder Community Hospital, they chose Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital for her recovery.

They couldn’t be happier with the decision.

“Everyone was professional, and it definitely was a family-like atmosphere,” Lori stated. “All the staff would go above-and-beyond to make her comfortable.”

Francesca, who has made tremendous progress in her recovery, concurs.

“The nurses and therapists spent time talking to me and reassuring me of my recovery,” Francesca reflected. “Monica, the respiratory therapist, was always so positive and smiling. The power of a smile and words is huge.”

“The doctors, nurses, patient care technicians, my dog, and family have influenced my recovery,” she added.

Francesca discharged to Craig Hospital for further neurorehabilitation. She then discharged from their inpatient program and is now doing their outpatient program. Francesca is staying with her parents, who have been with her through this entire experience.

“This was a devastating condition but Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital saved her and helped her regain her function,” Lori said.

Francesca is excited and motivated to get back to her prior life. Her goals are to finish college and become a geologist. She would love to work for the United States Geological Survey or State Department.

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Christopher Lauck

A mixup with household chemicals sent Christopher Lauck into respiratory failure…and nearly killed him.

Mixing CLR with bleach nearly killed 32-year-old Christopher Lauck. After breathing in the fumes, the mine equipment operator from Gillette, WY went into respiratory failure.

Respiratory failure occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen passing from the lungs into the body’s bloodstream. This creates the potential to critically harm the body’s organs, like the heart and brain.

Christopher was rushed to a local hospital. Physicians immediately placed Christopher on a ventilator to help him breathe. After about a month at the hospital, he transferred to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Christopher was still on the ventilator when he arrived at NCLTAH.

“While the ventilator plays a critical, life-saving role, it was important to get Christopher removed from it as quickly and safely as possible to avoid complications,” said Dr. Gary Pearson. Dr. Pearson is the Medical Director at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. “[Christopher] had received prolonged mechanical ventilation, which requires specialized medical assistance in being weaned off of it.”

At the hospital, an interdisciplinary team created a personalized plan of care. Christopher and his family members participated in the creation of that plan. The plan was tailored to his complex medical needs. The team used proven clinical practices, evidence-based research, and the latest technology to help remove him from the ventilator.

“The physicians and medical team were very thorough and provided excellent care,” Christopher says. “I felt good about the treatments and felt at home.”

Christopher liberated from the ventilator and transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. At NCRH, he participated in physical, occupational and speech therapy. Christopher also relearned how to perform daily activities. This included walking, eating and dressing — and his favorite, competitive shooting.

“My therapists found out I enjoyed competitive shooting. So during therapy, I began using a laser to shoot at targets,” Christopher recalled. “It was a really positive experience and helped me to see that I was going to be able to return to doing the things I enjoyed.”

Christopher returned home after his stay at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. He is back to work and has resumed competitive shooting and spending time with his friends.

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