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After 11 Years, Great Lakes Caring Wheel Chair Bound Patient Walks Within Weeks

After being wheel chair bound for 11 years, Coldwater, Mich., resident Robert Schram decided that his 2012 New Year’s resolution was to walk. “I’ve been in this chair for way too long and knew that I could walk, if only I had some professional therapy and someone to guide me,” said 75-year-old Schram.

Robert’s journey began when he was 17 and was seriously injured in an automobile accident. Unconscious for more than 30 days following the accident, he had to relearn how to walk, talk, write, eat and dress himself. After that, he developed debilitating arthritis in his hands and feet, significantly limiting his mobility. Recently, Schram was placed in a nursing home, which did provide physical therapy, but he was never allowed to walk using crutches.

“The nurses and aides were wonderful to me, but they just wouldn’t let me walk,” he said. But Robert finally got his chance to walk again when he recently moved in with his daughter, Lisa Pahl. “I took Dad to his physician and requested physical therapy. In two short months, he was walking on crutches,” she said.

“When I first met Robert, I really did not think he would be able to walk,” said Great Lakes Caring Home Health Physical Therapist Jacklyn. “His condition was very severe, but what I quickly learned was that his determination was even greater.”
Jacklyn, who has worked for Great Lakes Caring for seven years, developed a plan of care for Robert with Great Lakes Caring Home Health Physical Therapist Assistant Lorie. Together, they worked with him on gait training using crutches. “His son-in-law Deane Pahl found Robert a pair of crutches and modified them to fit his arthritic hands. None of us were sure he could walk. We were shocked. He stunned us all with his progress. In less than two months, he was walking several hundreds of feet at a time,” said Jacklyn.

“I knew that I could not help him. Contacting our doctor and simply asking for a physical therapist to come into our home has made my Dad’s quality of life so much better. He now looks forward to getting out, seeing people and just living,” said Pahl. “We could not have done this without the help of Great Lakes Caring.”

Great Lakes Caring is one of the Midwest’s largest providers of a continuum of care, consisting of home health, palliative care, and hospice care, as well as home medical equipment. Great Lakes Caring’s services are delivered by a comprehensive team of health care professionals to more than 6,000 patients across Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. More than 2,000 physicians entrust their patients’ care to Great Lakes Caring.

Recently, Great Lakes Caring was named to the 2011 HomeCare Elite, which recognizes top-performing home health agencies in the United States. This was the fifth year in a row that the company was awarded this honor. The HomeCare Elite identified Great Lakes Caring as one of the top 25 percent of 9,700 companies nationwide. Winners are ranked by an analysis of performance measures in quality outcomes, process measure implementation and financial performance.

Great Lakes Caring has 10 Michigan offices. Its headquarters is in Jackson. West and Southwest Michigan locations include Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.