An 87-year-old male recently purchased a house in Ft. Myers, Florida, and in late December, he returned to Indiana to finish gathering his personal items for his final move to Florida. He began to have stroke-like symptoms on the drive to Indiana, but he ignored them. Upon arrival to Indiana, his family noticed that he appeared to be having a stroke and brought him to IU Health Bloomington. He was diagnosed with a stroke.
After a stay on 4 South, the patient was admitted to the In-Patient Rehab Unit and was undoubtedly one of the more challenging patients cared for on our unit. He came to the IRU for therapy related to a stroke that affected his ability to walk and speak. His right side was flaccid and he had trouble swallowing. He had a very “Flat” affect and he was worried about not getting back to his home in Ft. Myers. He didn’t interact well with others and never smiled. He is widowed and has limited family support here.
Vicki Norman, RN, Case Manager for IRU, took this as a personal challenge and was determined to “figure this out” for the patient and get him back to his new home in Ft. Myers. She began to plan and involved a nephew in order to get basic items such as his wallet and ID so she could proceed with trying to relocate him back to Florida. She made multiple calls to rehab facilities as well as a call to his realtor and his bank in order to track down friends who were watching his home in Ft. Myers.
Once she located a skilled nursing facility that would accept him in Ft. Myers, she arranged for travel from the hospital to the Indianapolis airport, air travel to Ft. Myers, as well as someone in Florida to pick him up at the airport to transport him to the skilled nursing facility (Florida nursing homes do not provide transportation). Needless to say, he began to smile and to participate more in his therapy. His entire outlook changed dramatically once he realized that Vicki was working to get him back to his new home in Ft. Myers. The entire team worked with him to improve his strength and help him gain enough independence so he could make the air travel by himself. The plan is for him to continue to rehab in Ft. Myers and then ultimately return to his home.
Today, Vicki took him to the ATM in the hospital to assure that he had cash as he travels tomorrow. His therapists decorated his room with items like sand toys, sunglasses, and buckets to wish him well.
Tomorrow, Vicki’s husband will pick him up and transport him to the airport because his nephew was not able to transport him. His friends will pick him up in Ft. Myers and transport him to the skilled nursing facility.
Vicki is his hero!