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Empowering Patients to Walk in LTACHs - Case Study - Dick Raffelson

Empowering Patients to Walk in LTACHs
Case Study: Dick Raffelson

“I think the PACE made me more independent. It gave my nurses a break as I can do so much more for myself. So far, I just LOVE it. Thank you!” – Dick Raffelson


Dick Raffelson was feeling weak and discouraged after surviving a grueling 26 hour surgery. His left kidney and numerous cancerous tumors had been removed, along with a radical neck dissection and reconstruction. Once stabilized, he was moved from the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver to the Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital in Johnstown, Colorado.

The cancer had made it impossible for him to swallow so he now relies on liquid tube feeding for nutrition. Along with the feeding tube, Dick was connected to oxygen, a Wound Vac and a pulse oxymeter. His equipment was on either side of his bed and he required three caregivers and extra time to ambulate.

Since his equipment was the only thing keeping him from mobilizing, he was selected to participate in the LTACH’s clinical trial of the LIVENGOOD PACE. Dick immediately was able to stand up and walk with the assistance of one caregiver, rather than three. By the third day he was independent and would walk the halls waving to all of his caregivers. On Monday he told the nurse that he was able to get up three times and walk by himself over the weekend. There was no therapy on Saturdays and Sundays so weekends had been a sedentary time for Dick.

When the three day trial was completed the administrators decided to rent the PACE for the remainder of Dick’s stay because he loved it so much. They saw what a tremendous impact it had on Dick’s recovery - both emotionally and physically. They immediately began budgeting to purchase PACEs that will help many future patients have the same sense of empowerment for years to come.

*Case Study and photographic images used with patient permission