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Gordon Van Donselaar

By Gordon Van Donselaar

Gordon Van Donselaar and his late wife, Lois, took care of people for over 20 years in their health care facility, Friendship Manor.  Following surgery to replace a heart valve in November of 2015, Gordon found himself on the other side of nursing care—he was now the customer needing skilled care!  Gordon said, “I knew St. Francis Manor had great therapy so I wanted to go there.  I was thankful they had a bed open and I had a place to help me recover.” 

After the ventilator was removed following surgery, Gordon had difficulty eating, talking and sleeping so speech therapy was ordered in addition to physical therapy and occupational therapy through the Rehabilitation Clinic at St. Francis Manor.  According to Gordon, he was a bit “skeptical” about speech therapy but was pleased when the voice retraining exercises actually worked.  Gordon says with a smile, “I still love Ashley,” referring to Speech Therapist Ashley Filippelli.    

“Cardiac patients require many strengthening and balance exercises and Gordon was no exception,” states Physical Therapy Assistant Tim Stahl.  After two months of in-patient skilled care in St. Francis Manor, Gordon was able to safely transition home and the Rehabilitation Clinic therapists continued to provide physical therapy in his home initially and then on an out-patient basis in the Rehab Clinic.  Gordon “graduated” from out-patient therapy in April 2016.

After transitioning home, Gordon also received home health services provided through Community Services of St. Francis for about a month.  “I was thankful to have a nurse checking in on me during that first month I was at home,” said Gordon.

Speaking of his 5-month recovery time, Gordon said, “I enjoyed being at St. Francis Manor.  I love people and the relationships I made there.  I appreciated the nurses—especially Julie Paglia who cheered me up when I was depressed.  It’s been over a year since I went home and I still stop by St. Francis Manor once a month to visit.”

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