When Seeland Park resident Wilma Watkins was admitted to St. Francis Manor in January of 2016 with severe pain in her low back, hips and legs, she was in a wheelchair and taking the maximum dosage of pain medication that the Pain Clinic would prescribe. Thanks to St. Francis Manor’s Restorative Care program, Wilma was able to trade her wheelchair for a walker after several weeks and eventually resume all of her previous activities. Continued restorative care has, over time, also allowed her to reduce her pain medications by 75%! In May of 2017, Wilma returned to an independent living apartment.
Restorative care is a free service provided by St. Francis Manor to its long-term healthcare residents who are able to regain and/or help maintain independence through a variety of active and/or passive exercises based upon each individual’s abilities and needs. A St. Francis Manor resident is initially evaluated by Physical Therapy Assistant Tim Stahl to determine whether he/she could benefit from a restorative care program and if so, a targeted program is then designed based upon those specific needs. St. Francis Manor presently has three Restorative Aides who provide restorative care to residents: Emily Hurst, Denise Sedlock and Kayla Faas.
Restorative Aide Denise Sedlock started working with Wilma soon after she was admitted to St. Francis Manor based upon a schedule of 30 minutes per day four times a week. “Since Wilma indicated it was painful for her to get out of bed and get dressed, we started with a variety of stretching exercises that she could do in bed before she started her day,” said Denise. “Within two weeks of doing knee-to-chest and other stretches, we could both see an improvement in her stretching; and as her stretching continued to increase, her complaints of pain decreased. Then exercises to help strengthen her leg muscles and increase her range of motion were also added.”
According to Wilma’s daughter, June, the restorative care program has worked miracles for her mother. “At the time she was admitted to St. Francis Manor, my sister and I never expected that our mother would be able to return to living independently again but after she was able to resume all of her prior activities and significantly reduce her pain medication, we started considering it,” said June. “My greatest concern was whether my mom would continue doing stretching and exercising on her own but after discussing my concerns with Dion, I found out the same services could be provided to her through Community Services of St. Francis.”
“When Denise started providing restorative care to me, I didn’t think I would be able to do it because I had so much pain but she helped me work through it and before long, I started feeling better and could return to the activities that I enjoy,” said Wilma. “Denise spoils me and I am glad that she is able to continue helping me through home healthcare services. Since returning to an apartment, I am now walking more and also enjoying the S.H.A.P.E. 3 fitness classes again.”