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COVID patient returns home after 74 days on ventilator & weeks in rehabilitation

Kim Spinelli spent 74 days on a ventilator battling COVID-19 before coming to Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Toms River. The days and weeks ahead would prove challenging, but she worked hard to achieve her therapy goals and recently left Encompass Health to return home, as family and friends cheered and shed tears of joy.

Alicia Hartunian, CNO of Encompass Health of Toms River, shares: “I first met Kim a few days after she was admitted. She wasn’t even able to get out of bed at that point. She shared her harrowing COVID journey with me and I knew from that moment she would do well because of her strong determination and positive spirit. Seeing Kim walk out of Encompass Health reaffirmed for me, and I know many others also, our purpose in the continuum of care, to restore our patient’s function and well-being so they can go back into the world safely and with confidence.”

When she arrived at Encompass Health, Kim shared with her therapy team that she was nervous about physical therapy, because she was worried her legs were too weak to hold her after her prolonged hospital stay. On her fourth day at Encompass Health, she walked eight feet with a walker and assistance from her therapy team. Jessica Heimall, physical therapist who worked closely with Kim, shares her excitement to see the progress she made in her short stay at Encompass Health: “When I treated Kim just days before she discharged home, she had improved so much. She was walking 220 feet with the walker for support, but no longer needed help from the therapists to stand or to aide in her balance. We were even able to walk together without the walker the last day of her stay. It was a pleasure to work with Kim. We helped guide her, gave her the tools for recovery, but the improvements she made were from her hard work & positive attitude.”

Read more about Kim’s story in this article from the Ashbury Park Press