Alan Baldwin came to Vibra Hospital of Houston, a critical care hospital, after sustaining multiple fractures following a fall off a 20-foot scaffold at work. When he first arrived at Vibra, Alan faced many challenges, including requiring a ventilator to breathe and experiencing significant weakness and debility due to his extended hospitalization.
“When he first started here, he wasn’t able to move his limbs or anything,” said Pamela Wallace, DPT, director of rehabilitation at Vibra Hospital of Houston. “We just started from the basics. We started with general strengthening exercises, strengthening his arms and his legs, in order to be able to roll and reposition in bed.”
But before Alan could progress to more substantial therapy sessions, he first had to wean off the ventilator that was breathing for him. Alan was orally intubated before arriving at Vibra, but was placed on a trach soon after. “We don’t want to keep patients orally intubated for more than seven days,” said Samaria Williams, the respiratory lead at Vibra. “After that, we started doing spontaneous breathing trials on him. He did well on those breathing trials, and we were able to get him off of ventilation support.”
Now liberated from the mechanical ventilator, Alan could participate in more intensive physical and occupational therapy. “We progressed to more functional activities, as far as standing and things of that nature,” said Wallace. Because Alan lacked the stability and trunk control to use a standard rolling walker, the team utilized a specialized walker known as a cardiac walker. “The cardiac walker provides more trunk stability, where you can kind of lean and put your bodyweight through a platform in order to take steps.”
Another benefit of being off the ventilator was that Alan could follow commands and communicate by mouthing words. Vibra takes a collaborative approach to patient care, including feedback from the patients and their family members. Now, Alan could better participate in setting goals for his recovery.
“It’s a very solid team approach,” Wallace noted. “It’s not just one person that makes the difference. It’s all of us making a difference together.”