There's life after long-term care

“Normally, people don’t get out [of long-term care],” states Kevin Fitzpatrick, whose healthcare journey has been anything but ordinary.

In June 2015, Kevin was admitted to hospital with various illnesses: a blood infection, a lung problem and out-of-control diabetes.

After eight months in hospital, Kevin was bedridden and too weak to do anything on his own. He couldn’t walk and needed help transferring from his bed into his wheelchair. At only 54 years old, he moved into long-term care at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.

“When I got here, I wasn’t in the mood for much of anything,” admits Kevin.

He had given up, but the team on his unit still believed in him.

Kevin Fitzpatrick (left) went from being bedridden to using a wheelchair, to walking with a walker. Naveen Sharma (right), Physical Therapist, and the rest of the team have been supporting Kevin every step of the way.

“With the health conditions he presented to us, I felt like if we got his weight down, his independence up and his morale more positive, he could live a higher quality of life,” says Geraldine MacInnis, Unit Manager.

She spent months advocating for Kevin, who was finally accepted into a special six-week intensive rehabilitation program at the Glenrose. He was able to work on basic exercises such as getting in and out of bed and standing up on his own.

When Kevin returned to the Edmonton General, he had started using his walker instead of his wheelchair for short distances. 

That’s when Geraldine knew the team could help him move back home.

“There’s a whole life for him out there. Why should he have to miss that?”

Geraldine MacInnis, RN and Unit Manager

Kevin got on board with the program right away and made major improvements. He started working with Naveen Sharma, Physical Therapist, on his balance and strength to increase his independence. 

With support from the entire team, Kevin lost more than 100 pounds and is no longer diabetic. He uses his walker to get around and already feels the benefits of his exercise program and gluten-free diet. “I don’t hurt all over like I used to.”

Kevin purchased a condo and will be ready to move in early 2017. He reconnected with his previous employer and will return to his job as an engineer as soon as possible.

“It’s been a long few months, but it’s coming along,” says Kevin. “It wouldn’t have happened without the staff.”

To ensure he doesn’t backslide, homecare will monitor his health, his medication will be bubble-packed and his gluten-free meals will be prepared and delivered to his door.         

“It just takes a little bit of motivation, inspiration, encouragement and the whole team working together,” says Geraldine. “When you get someone excited and engaged in their own care, the sky’s the limit.”

Staff from unit 4AB at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre who supported Kevin in his journey (from left): Harpreet Gill, Recreation Assistant; Maria Manzanares, Health Care Aide; AnaLisa San Pedro, LPN; Denise Brietzke, LPN; Kevin Fitzpatrick, resident; Michael Lane, Health Care Aide; Geraldine MacInnis, RN and Unit Manager

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