Kay's Story

Kay Riley smiles after rehabilitation.

An active retiree who enjoyed ranching cattle and spending time with family, friends and her church community, Kay Riley awoke one night to use the bathroom. Soon after, her husband Ronnie found her on the floor, unresponsive and dialed 911. The retired office manager was care flighted to Medical City Plano where physicians diagnosed her with a stroke and a blood clot in her brain that they surgically removed.

After a five-day recovery, Kay’s family chose Select Rehabilitation Hospital of Denton for further inpatient nursing care and intensive rehabilitation to help her achieve her goals of getting back to her life — walking and performing everyday daily tasks.

When she admitted, Kay said she wasn’t walking or thinking as well as she did before the stroke. After assessing her, Kay’s care team developed a plan to help regain her independence and resume her life.

Physical therapy (PT) focused on increasing her balance, mobility and safety when moving from one surface to another, called transfers. The team gave guided practice for Kay as she used a walker. Kay was trained on effective safety precautions to prevent falls, the proper gait for safe walking and techniques for getting in and out of a car. By the end of her hospital stay, Kay was able to walk 300 feet with a rolling walker and change positions from sitting to standing with occasional help.

Occupational therapists worked with Kay on basic daily tasks such as toileting, dressing and grooming. Her therapy team educated her on using different adaptive equipment and worked with her on sorting and organizing tasks while standing to increase her endurance and balance.

Kay also received speech therapy during her inpatient stay, where she learned strategies to help with the concentration, processing speed, memory and problem-solving skills required for the more complex tasks of daily living, such as cooking and medication management. Kay initially required moderate assistance for these activities, but progressed to greater independence through the cognitive exercises and compensation strategies she learned from her therapist.

After three and a half weeks, Kay was ready to return home with her husband where she would continue to recover aided by outpatient therapy visits at the hospital. There, she worked on building strength and endurance, gait and fine motor control and coordination. This helped her improve stability, coordination and independence. This proved important since Kay developed a new challenge – benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. Her physical therapists worked with her doing specific head movements, called Epley maneuvers, to successfully resolve her vertigo and improve her stability.

Kay began to hit her stride in outpatient therapy when a physical therapist introduced her to a new way to distribute her weight when walking which increased her stability. Practicing this technique made Kay more comfortable with walking – it also propelled her to keep pushing forward.
Outpatient therapists also helped Kay with cognitive challenges and memory tasks. Therapists established routines, reduced distractions and practiced simulated activities with Kay including medication management and cooking. "It gave me greater confidence to safely do them at home," Kay said of the simulated activities.

Kay reflected on her experiences with Select Rehabilitation Hospital of Denton’s inpatient and outpatient services. She called her stroke emotionally and physically taxing and expressed gratitude for the many different ways the hospital and therapy team helped her overcome her challenges through beneficial interventions and activities.

Kay said, "The staff were all so thoughtful to go out of their way to help care for me."  She was also quick to acknowledge the blessings she received, attributing her success to her rehab team, supportive family and faith in God who she says, “Answered my prayers and was with me daily.”

*Patient success stories from across our hospital network.