May 24th, 2016 was a day that Jerry Dotson and his family won’t soon forget. He went to a Dr.’s appointment to be evaluated because something was just not right with him. In the blink of an eye, he was at St. Thomas in the Intensive Care Unit being treated for bleeding on the brain and a CVA (stroke). The prognosis was not promising. Mr. Dotson was now unable to speak or move. He and his family faced great uncertainty that he would ever come out of the hospital, and if he did, what would his condition be going forward? While at St. Thomas, his daughter Cheryl, posted daily updates on Facebook informing friends and family of the condition of Mr. Dotson, and the details of his battle. Two days after the stroke, “he was becoming more responsive to nurses’ commands to try and lift his legs.” Three days after the stroke, he had progressed to “being able to hold a cracker and eat it on his own.” Also, he was able to “speak on three different occasions on that day”. These were major improvements that presented glimmers of hope to his loved ones that he might make it out of the hospital.
Five days after the stroke, the Doctor informed them that there was nothing else that could be done there, and his hope lied in being admitted to a Skilled Nursing Facility for post-acute care. His family chose to send him to Waverly Health Care Center, where his niece Jessica had just accepted the position of Director of Nursing. As the referral came to the facility, Jessica told the Administrator that “he would be a healthcare success story, and will walk out of there.” She was full of confidence, hope, and most importantly, faith that he would prevail.
On May 31st, the next leg of his journey began as he was admitted to Waverly Health Care Center to begin rehabilitation and receive specialized nursing care. With the help of the team of Nurses, CNA’s, Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists, his condition began to improve. He worked fiercely to do things that people take for granted every day, such as repositioning ourselves, transferring from a chair to a bed, and walking. There were many hours of intense therapy, and he never let up for a second. He spent a lot of time with Darby Lansford, the Rehab Team Leader, and multiple rehab staff members working on regaining his functional abilities. It was a long and arduous road, but after all of his hard work and countless prayers, Mr. Dotson achieved his goals.
On Friday July 1st, he packed his bag, and walked out of the facility, headed home. The staff was overcome with joy as they presented him with a keepsake to mark his achievements. He wore out a shirt that said, “I am another Waverly Health Care Success Story”. Mr. Dotson was finally going home, and would continue his rehabilitation through out-patient therapy at the facility.
Mr. Dotson isn’t the only person who was faced with a major health episode that required treatment in a skilled nursing facility. Waverly Health Care Center has admitted 54 patients from Humphrey’s County this year seeking in-patient post-acute health care services. Of those people seeking treatment, nearly 60% have received nursing and rehab services to return to their homes in the community. No longer, when a Doctor tells a family that a loved one needs to be admitted to a skilled nursing facility, does it mean that this is the last stop. Skilled nursing facilities like Waverly Health Care Center have a mission of providing nursing and rehab services designed to assist people to return to their highest level of well-being in the facility, or even better, back to the community following a major health scare. The motto at Waverly Health Care is Get Well, Live Well. Their skilled model is designed to get a person well enough to return to their normal lives, and get them back out into the community. Mr. Dotson is a great example of the perseverance of one man, as well as the evolution of the skilled nursing industry, and its mission to help people achieve their highest level of well-being.